The future ain’t what it used to be
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.”