The fu­ture ain’t what it used to be

The Covington News - - Opinion -

Lawrence Peter Berra, “Yogi” to base­ball fans ev­ery­where, wea­ried as hi­lar­i­ous quo­ta­tions which he’d never ac­tu­ally ut­tered but were at­trib­uted to him, con­tin­ued to amass. So, ten years ago Berra wrote “The Yogi Book,” per­haps bet­ter known by it’s sub­ti­tle: “I Re­ally Didn’t Say Ev­ery­thing I Said!”

Yogi Berra was one of the great­est catch­ers to ever play base­ball. The Hall of Famer served in the U.S. Navy as a gun­ner’s mate dur­ing the D-Day in­va­sion of France, then joined the New York Yan­kees or­ga­ni­za­tion in 1946, go­ing on to set records in too many cat­e­gories to men­tion. And, along the way, Yogi be­came known for his quips, many of which seemed to frac­ture com­mon sense.

Well, af­ter ab­sorb­ing the Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can Na­tional Con­ven­tions, I’m con­vinced of the va­lid­ity of one par­tic­u­lar Yogi-ism: “the fu­ture ain’t what it used to be.” In his book, Yogi ex­plains that what he meant was that times are dif­fer­ent. Not nec­es­sar­ily bet­ter or worse — just dif­fer­ent.

The two pres­i­den­tial tick­ets cer­tainly af­firm Yogi’s take, for, in Bob Dy­lan’s words: “the times, they are a-changin’.”

The Democrats theme says, sim­ply: elect­ing the Repub­li­cans will bring four more years of the same last eight years.

The Repub­li­cans counter: elect­ing a Demo­cratic ex­ec­u­tive branch to snug­gle with the Demo­crat-con­trolled Congress will bring back the Jimmy Carter Era. Or, in Yogi’s words: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

One good thing about the clos­ing of the con­ven­tions is that at least Amer­i­cans know their choices. One bad thing about it is that we’re closer to en­dur­ing tele­vised de­bates be­tween the candidates, sure to bring forth the slings and ar­rows of ou­tra­geous rhetoric and empty prom­ises.

Yogi has a cou­ple of quotes which sum up what we’ll hear. Com­bined, Berra’s wis­dom warns “…if you don’t set goals, you can’t re­gret not reach­ing them. You’ve got to be care­ful if you don’t know where you’re go­ing, ‘cause you might not get there!”

Folks, se­ri­ously, I’m very con­cerned about Amer­ica’s di­rec­tion. In th­ese crit­i­cal times when our mil­i­tary is at war over­seas, there should have been a record voter turnout in the pri­mary elec­tions, but it didn’t hap­pen. Now, with our na­tion’s fu­ture on the line, it seems that many have de­cided not to be con­fused by the facts, while those who earnestly seek to make in­tel­li­gent choices are in­un­dated with noth­ing but fan­tas­tic rhetoric. Per­haps the only re­al­is­tic hope is that vot­ers will keep an open mind, pay at­ten­tion not only to the words the candidates speak, but ac­tu­ally seek to com­pre­hend what they mean and to dis­cern be­tween a ridicu­lous prom­ise and a plau­si­ble plan.

Yogi says: “You can ob­serve a lot by watch­ing.”

Need­ing a break from con­ven­tion cov­er­age, I’ve come up with my very own 2008 dream team po­lit­i­cal ticket. For pres­i­dent, I’m nom­i­nat­ing Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra; my vice pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion is the lovely Jen­nifer Lynn “J.Lo” Lopez.

What would the Berra-Lopez ticket bring to the ta­ble?

First, Yogi doesn’t miss many pitches. He also sur­rounded him­self with top notch tal­ent off the field and in his busi­ness ven­tures. Yogi would put the right folks in the right slots of his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Next, should any for­eign power or dig­ni­tary take is­sue with Amer­ica, dis­cus­sions with Yogi would send them away shak­ing their heads and laugh­ing. Peo­ple can’t be ugly to each other when they’re laugh­ing. Now, about “J.Lo”…. Jen­nifer Lopez is an ac­tress, singer, record pro­ducer and fash­ion de­signer. Forbes says she’s the rich­est per­son of Latin-Amer­i­can de­scent in Hol­ly­wood, and “J.Lo” has been called the most in­flu­en­tial His­panic en­ter­tainer in Amer­ica. Born in the South Bronx to Puerto Ri­can par­ents, Lopez at­tended Catholic schools; she paid her own way to col­lege and learn­ing the ropes of the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness. Her films and 48 mil­lion al­bums have her ranked in Forbe’s top 20 rich­est women in en­ter­tain­ment.

Mar­ried three times, “J.Lo” has twins by her cur­rent hus­band, and would bring to the ta­ble a com­pas­sion for the down­trod­den while at the same time com­mand­ing re­spect from the cor­po­rate world for the em­pire she’s built.

It doesn’t hurt that Lopez is also drop dead gor­geous. She’d have every­one’s at­ten­tion pre­sid­ing over the Se­nate, for sure.

Granted, I doubt you’ll se­ri­ously con­sider my ticket of Yogi Berra and Jen­nifer Lopez, al­though, as Yogi says, “it’s tough mak­ing pre­dic­tions, es­pe­cially about the fu­ture.”

But Amer­i­cans, par­tic­u­larly Amer­i­can vot­ers, need to un­der­stand the grav­ity of this 2008 elec­tion sea­son. It’s un­ac­cept­able to be be­guiled by rhetoric thrown wildly in an at­tempt to gar­ner votes. You can­not mis­take Yogi’s “…when you come to a fork in the road, take it…” as valid vot­ing ad­vice!

Re­mem­ber, please that Amer­ica’s not be­com­ing a great na­tion - Amer­ica is a great na­tion. For­mer UK Prime Min­is­ter Tony Blair, speak­ing to Bri­tish am­bas­sadors on Jan. 3, 2003, said, “…it is a good rule of thumb to ask of a coun­try: are peo­ple try­ing to get into it, or out of it?” The hud­dled masses yearn­ing to breathe free are still en route, whether El­lis Is­land is open or not.

But if Amer­ica is to stay great, vot­ers have to care­fully con­sider what the Democrats and Repub­li­cans have of­fered. Be­yond that, Amer­i­cans must be­come ac­tively in­volved in con­trol­ling their Congress. It can be done, though as Yogi says:

“It’s not too far, it just seems like it is.”

This gen­eral elec­tion, barely two months dis­tant, will de­ter­mine what kind of Amer­ica will ex­ist for our chil­dren, and for theirs. And though the out­come sim­ply can­not be pre­dicted, as Yogi says:

“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

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