Friday, August 20, 2010

Baseball is Trivial But This is Not

I'm going to take a position here that surprises me a little bit how much I seem to be in the minority on, but I've felt this way for a long time and frankly I've always been a little perplexed that more people don't see this my way. I've heard about a gillion people say since Thursday afternoon how ridiculous it is that Congress can't find anything better to do with their time than to prosecute a baseball player like Roger Clemens related to his use of performance enhancing drugs. With all the shiat going on in the country and in the world right now, so the argument goes, the fact that our elected officials in Washington are spending their time investigating Clemens and now are going to devote time to trying this guy and, if convicted as I expect he will be if he actually goes forward with the trial, sending him to jail for a year or more is I suppose some kind of gross abuse of discretion.

Well, I'm here to tell you once and for all that that is just not the right way of looking at this issue. This is farrrrr from an insignificant trifle, prosecuting Roger Clemens for lying under oath. Oh sure, the people who are closet Rocket fans will tell you that our national government is spending their time worrying about baseball. About a sport, a game, that is played purely for entertainment purposes and nothing more. That they are focusing on this one individual and what he may or may not have said under oath before Congress some 2 1/2 years ago, instead of on cutting the deficit, defending our country from terrorists, on the moral hazard involved with continuing to bail out every banker, oil company, home builder, airline, auto manufacturer and basically every other industry in this country, etc. There is so much wrong with America, goes the argument, that for our Congressmen and Congresswomen to be taking even a small part of their time focusing just on Roger Clemens -- a retired baseball pitcher, for crying out loud -- is an abuse of discretion that amounts to sheer lunacy.

But then this is exactly where those people miss the whole point. This whole brouhahah with Clemens isn't just about baseball -- in fact, it's hardly about baseball at all. Contrary to what many people out there would have you believe, Roger Clemens is most decidedly not being prosecuted for taking steroids, or for using, receiving, buying or possessing HGH or any other illegal substance he is alleged to have used. For the Congress to be involving themselves in such dalliances would even to me be pretty petty and silly when it comes right down to it.

But no, this case is not actually about baseball, or steroids, or HGH, or anything of the sort that Roger Clemens did or did not do -- this case is about lying. Specifically, lying under oath. Before Congress. It's about perjury, and it's about obstruction of justice. All things that are not the trivial items that baseball and steroids might seem to be in the eyes of our elected officials in Washington.

And here is where my view tends to diverge from most of the others' viewpoints that I have been hearing and reading these past 24 hours or so. When someone goes to Washington, DC, and swears in under oath to tell the truth to a committee comprised solely of the highest level of elected officials in our country, that is not to me a minor thing. The fact that Clemens was all over national television giving his testimony only makes his transgressions all the more serious in my view. I mean, Roger Clemens is a literal hero, an idol who is worshipped, by how many kids in America and around the world these days? 5 million kids? 10 million? 25 million? This guy is the ultimate role model to so many people in this country and internationally, to mostly young, impressionable kids who are clearly impacted tremendously by what they see their idols wear, how they cut their hair, how they talk, and the actions they take. The way I see it, when Roger Clemens goes on tv and states directly under oath to Congress that he never took steroids or HGH, that he never even discussed steroids with anyone prior to this hearing, and that his former trainer is lying to try to ruin Clemens' legacy, but then it slowly but surely comes out that he was quite obviously lying through his scumbag teeth the whole way through, it is imperative that we do something about it. Not about the steroids, and not about the cheating of the entire sport of baseball and all of its fans, and not by the way about the lying per se. It's the lying under oath, to Congress, that simply cannot be ignored if we expect our system to continue to work as currently designed.

I don't know about you, but it is painfully obvious to me that there is zero chance of us expecting our kids -- and, frankly, most of our grownups as well -- to even bother thinking about telling the truth, when their very idols, the people they look up to and want to emulate the most, not only blatantly lie, but do so under oath and in a very public manner. The next time someone hits you with their car because they're too busy texting to pay attention to the road, and you find yourself in court for her testimony, do you want her to testify under oath that she was paying total attention but that she clearly saw you on your cell phone and that this is obviously what caused the accident? Or the next time some big insurance company denies some sick child benefits that they clearly should be owing to her, do you want the insurance guys under oath up on the stand telling the truth, or instead making up lie after lie to find any way possible to weasel out of their insurance obligations? Say what you want because you like Roger Clemens, but I just don't see how the whole system keeps moving forward if we blatantly allow well-known people to make a public spectacle of themselves lying through their teeth while under oath to Congress.

It was bad enough when we let out own fricking president a few years ago tell obvious lie after obvious lie in his sworn deposition testimony, videotaped and shown to Americans and to others all around the world, and never even ended up doing anything real about it to him. I knew it then and it is still clear as day now what a tragically and horrifyingly negative effect showing the kids of the world that it's ok for the effing leader of the free world to lie when it suits him, would end up having on the morals of the country for literally years to come, and I would classify all this bullshit with the steroid hearings -- be it Clemens's or Barry Bonds's obvious lies, or be it Rafael Palmeiro wagging his finger at Congress and flat denying ever using banned substances less than a year before failing a drug test for those very items, or be it Sammy Sosa suddenly forgetting how to speak English -- as clear results of our decision as a country to let Bill Clinton off without making him truly pay for what he did. That was another great example where the doofuses were all out saying "Aw come on guys, he lied but he's only lying about having an affair, not about some matter of national security!" as if that somehow absolves the man of anything. Bill Clinton didn't get in trouble for trying to get his knob polished, or for cigar-poking an intern a day. He got in trouble because he lied about it, under oath, publicly, and everybody on the earth saw it. Never mind the fact for a minute that the president spent 8 years chasing blowies in the oval office instead of attacking Osama Bin Laden while he built up an army in the Sudan. The guy lied under oath. The President of the United States (and also a lawyer, by the way), lying through his teeth under oath and being televised for hours and hours on end to people all around the planet, and in the end, that's what did him in to the extent that he was impeached, etc.

When you start letting people disregard the most basic tenet of our legal system, and do so in a very public, almost flaunting kind of way, the entire system starts to break down whether you can perceive it or not. We made a huge mistake as a country in letting Bill Clinton get away with downright and known perjury in the end, but that of course is the worst argument imaginable for now letting Clemens get away with it too. I was totally in favor of people getting off Clemens's back for the whole PED thing once he retired, but after he went before Congress on national television and flagrantly and deliberately broke the most sacred and basic law of our legal system, he crossed the line and simply had to be dealt with.

I look at all the bailouts that our elected "representatives" have spent their time passing over the past couple of years. All the UIGEA stuff. All the ridiculous and economically senseless "gadgets" like the tax-rebates-in-cash, the housing credit and cash-for-clunkers that have shown themselves very quickly to be the abject failures everyone with a sense of economics always knew they would be. I see the ludicrous spending that got utterly out of hand under W and that now has been increased seemingly a hundredfold by our current president. The stimulus bill that was not designed to bring nearly as much actual stimulus to the economy as it was to deliver pork to Obama's friends. The healthcare legislation of the past year that nobody but Obama and some illegal aliens wanted. I look at all this stuff that Congress is doing, and you expect me to believe that prosecuting Roger Clemens for lying to Congress under oath is the biggest joke they've put time into? I got news for you guys: this prosecution is pretty much the most important thing this Congress has done as far as I'm concerned. And I can't wait to see Clemens admit guilt and settle, or better yet, go to jail for a year or two which is most likely where this really is going to end up.

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Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

I totally agree but I think what most of the points I have heard made were that Congress should NEVER have investigated baseball because they have much better things to do.

Clemens should go to jail and get hit hard for lying under oath period. Also for abandoning the Red Sox!

11:59 PM  
Blogger Bayne_S said...

I don't want to live in a world where waffles consistently agrees with Hoy

12:37 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Don't worry Bayne, I am still an arrogant fuck. And a cunt.

12:42 AM  
Blogger jjok said...

bit of irony that clemens could go to jail for lying to Congress.....since Congress never lies to it's people......right?

1:20 AM  
Blogger RedXBranch said...

Professional baseball is big, big business operated across state lines. Congress has the obligation of regulating interstate commerce. This is why congress investigated baseball/performance enhancing drugs. Multi-Billion dollar industry.

1:54 AM  
Blogger Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Again I will point out in any event that dealing with steroids in baseball is a far better thing for Congress to be doing with its time than bailing anyone else out, spending more money, or protecting Americans from the evils of unregulated online gaming.

6:25 AM  

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