Steroids shouldn’t be a priority

The current national administration has taken smoke-and-mirrors public relations to the level of high artistry. Whether the distraction be planned attacks on national monuments, evil protesters burning flags, or two dudes looking to tie the knot, the Bushies have an innate knack of making mountains out of molehills – and then convincing us the mountain’s about to come tumbling down. This inexplicable focus on steroid use in professional sports is just the latest in their series of obfuscations.

We can argue all day about whether or not performance-enhancing drugs have a place in athletic competition, or what constitutes a performance enhancer – certainly it’s been a sexy issue lately. Was marijuana a performance-enhancer for Canadian Olympic snowboarder Ross Rebagliati? What about my morning coffee? Lots of my friends would call both performance enhancers. And that handsome devil, Jose Canseco – what a hunk! I’d like to talk about his biceps some more.

However, to get lost in such orchestrated digressions is to have been played the fool. It’s allowing oneself to be distracted. The most important question here is clearly this: why the hell is congress spending their time on pro sports when it would seem there are one or two other issues on the radar screen that could better occupy their time? Is all this merely a pretty, sparkly bauble held out to catch our eyes while their hands are in our pockets?

After all, it’s safe to pursue such issues.

Seriously, there is very little risk here, and there are few more cowardly creatures in nature than politicians. After all, a large portion of their constituencies are pro sports fans, and what’s more American than baseball? They get to stand proudly before the cameras and ape the homilies given them by their grandfathers: “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” right? That sort of thing looks great in front of red-white-and-blue bunting, and really plays to red-state hoi polloi who’d much rather think about sports than something icky like gay marriage or torture chambers in Abu Ghraib.

The sad fact is that, while our legislators are entertaining themselves up on their high horses, preaching down their noses at men whom they’d never dare to question mano-a-mano, there are many issues left to go begging, issues whose neglect is of genuine and direct detriment to the folks they’ve been elected to serve.

When Dubya busted out his initial salvo against steroid use in his State of the Union Address last year, I assumed it would go by the wayside quickly. I figured he just needed a safe portion of the speech with no big words to tangle his tongue and throw him off. Alas, my na�vet� runs rampant, as, sure enough, a slew of sycophants and toadies have accreted like barnacles to this vanilla issue, gaining themselves photo-ops, another resume line, and, more importantly, allowing them to go on keeping their heads up their asses while sticking it to the taxpayers who sign their paychecks.

A fifth-grader could probably rattle off a half dozen pressing concerns on the national stage that need be dealt with on the local level by these selfsame starfucking committee-members.

What about greater protection of our ports, more comprehensive searching of incoming containers? What about a ballooning war in Iraq that, however beneficial in eventual outcome, was sold to us with lies and deception? What about armoring the vehicles of the troops sent to fight and die for these lies? What about the administration’s bald-faced attempts to load our courts with religious nut-jobs more likely to consult the Book of Isaiah than a book of laws?

It’s just plain disgusting to be wasting taxpayers’ money, time, and attention on Major League Baseball or the NFL when life or death matters languish in absentee senators’ inboxes. It’s crystal clear evidence of the wasteful misallocation of resources that’s all too endemic to our legislative bodies.

And, really, what it all boils down to is the pot calling the kettle black. Corruption, cheating, a presbyopic focus on others’ faults, the search for unfair advantage.

Sound at all familiar? The committee is plagued by the very misdeeds it purports to investigate.

These fools need to get sent back down to the farm leagues where they belong, and for good.

Riggs Fulmer can be reached at [email protected]