If you are not a sports fan, you might be unaware of the controversy over steroids that has surrounded major-league baseball for many months. Leaked grand jury testimony from a criminal investigation and the usual informed whispers have fueled the pervasive sports punditry up until now. Enter stage Right the United States House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform who announced that they will be holding hearings investigating steroid abuse in the big leagues.
When asking himself the pre-emptive question of why the need for Congressional hearings, chairman of the committee, Tom Davis, evoked several of the standard Vote For Me symbols wishing to shine a light in the darkness and of course protect our children. As sad as that sop was, he went on to add, “We can help kids understand that steroids aren’t cool.” I wish the committee well in that endeavor because I think that convincing teenage boys that a muscular physique is “uncool” is a grand undertaking indeed.
Is it just me, or does anyone else think that perhaps this might not be the best use of the time of our Congressmen?
Laying aside these silly nits, there is a real problem that does need addressed. Steroids are a dangerous thing and like other illegal drugs, they are making their way into the hands of children far to young for society to have any expectation of a reasonable risk/reward analysis on their part. I certainly agree that a program of communication to young people is desirable and justified, but I can not help but wonder if this is not a more appropriate matter for the Surgeon General than the Committee on Government Reform. It sounds like the Reform Committee is overdue a bit of self-examination.
Of course we all know that the truth is that like most of what poses as legitimate legislative activity in the hallowed halls of congress lately, these hearings are intended primarily to be attention getters for the politicians. In elementary school, we called it mugging for the camera. When describing the behavior of our Congressmen, we should just call it embarrassing.
A while back, in an attempt at making some suggestions that could help with the embarrassment that is called our public school system, I called for the removal of sports from our schools in order to help the institution focus on the actual objective of educating. Perhaps the same treatment is in order for our nation as a whole. It is hard to believe that Congress can be this distracted when as a nation we face challenges the magnitude of international terrorism, nuclear missiles in the hands of depots, and an impending meltdown of our health care system. I’m sorry, but as much as I love watching sports, I find the possibility of the end of Western civilization a more compelling topic.
We should be telling Congress to collect autographs on their own time because they have work to do.
But we love our diversions and really, it is hard these days to tell political discourse from sport anyway. The testimony of some of the biggest names in sports before the Congress will undoubtedly attract the approving attention of Americans who care more about who did what to whom than the substantive health concerns. We will be treated to seeing Davis and Henry Waxman preening before the cameras all the while knowing that their media show will not produce anything more than the ongoing criminal investigation is calculated to determine.
And while we are distracted, terrorists will have more time to exploit our exposed borders, North Korea will move a bit closer toward another nuclear tipped missile, and we will waste yet more precious resources into the entropy of an irrational health care system. Perhaps it is naïve to expect more of our leaders and our citizens than this, but one can always hope. Hope that the façade of genuine concern crumbles off of the Capitol Building. Hope that some of those watching The Show will notice that nothing is actually happening.
On the other hand, maybe not.