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Giving God his kicks

Joey Falco | Sunday, November 21, 2004

I miss kickball. It can actually be quite calming to reminisce back to those halcyon days in elementary school when the most taxing issues on my mind were things like remembering to run to first base – not third – after booting the ball into the outfield, and when expressing my attraction to girls was as simple as not pegging them in the face as they trotted around the bases. Without a doubt, though, the most exhilarating aspect of playground kickball, at least for eight-year-old, popularity-driven narcissists like me, was the guaranteed-to-elicit-tears process of picking teams.

Of course, there were the natural athletes who were always among the first picked. Most often, after that, came some of the more athletic girls – the tomboys, as they were so flatteringly referred. Then, the rosters were usually rounded out with the necessary picks of the less-coordinated boys, the girly-girls and the kids who would clearly prefer to be reading Goosebumps books instead of getting their sneakers dirty on a kickball field. Finally, there was always the inevitable battle over which team would get stuck with the fat kid, regardless of how good he may or may not have been.

As silly as it sounds, that superficial playground process for choosing sides in a competition really has left lasting implications on the way in which adult society operates today, especially in the world of politics. America’s two major parties, after all, have been picking and trading players for their teams from a lineup of issues and ideas for the past 150 years, each desperately searching for those key platform policies that will consistently clear the bases with their powerful kicks. Needless to say, today’s Democratic Party is playing with a bench full of fat kids.

As the 22 percent of Americans who voted for their president based solely on his stance on issues of morality know, Democrats have been stuck with adding to their team two of the worst political kickball players ever conceived – the pro-choice stance on abortion and the right for homosexuals to marry. These end-of-the-bench, guaranteed strikeouts, which certainly may represent positive characteristics of the Democratic Party’s unending quest for equal opportunity, have really proven to be the Achilles heel of a kickball team that is already going up against one of the most formidable foes in the history of political competition.

Yes, the Republican Party clearly had the first pick in this indescribably significant process of team assembly, and they ingeniously chose the only invincible player to ever take part in the game of politics – the holiest of holies, the creator of Heaven and Earth, He who is what is, the one and only God almighty. Clearly, by choosing God to bat cleanup for their already loaded lineup of tax cuts and homeland security, the Republicans managed to pull off the equivalent of adding David Beckham’s foot to a kindergarten kickball team. Naturally, they proved to be unstoppable against the Democrats’ squad of fat camp dropouts.

Simply taking a look back at the election makes it quite clear how much the Republican team relied upon a few grand slams from its Heaven-sent all-star. Prior to the election, several Catholic priests and bishops openly admitted to sensing that divine providence would play a part in returning Bush to the White House, and exit polls from Nov. 2 eventually showed the born-again Evangelical managed to cross the transubstantiation gap and take 52 percent of the Catholic vote away from a practicing Catholic.

On top of that, while addressing the 2004 National Urban League Conference this summer, the supposed chosen candidate of Jehovah announced the federal government’s political and religious partnership with such groups as Boston’s Black Ministerial Alliance, the Metro Denver Black Church Initiative and various other minority church groups, and in the end, this helped him piggyback on God’s shoulders once again while garnering the votes of 30 percent of all non-white males and 24 percent of all non-white females – both sharp increases from 2000.

The funny thing is, for decades, the Almighty consistently played the role of the fat kid waiting against the wall in the electoral game of kickball, with no candidate ever wanting to blatantly cross the sacred barrier between church and state. John F. Kennedy, after all, America’s only Catholic president, barely won his election because of voter fears that his policies would directly reflect the will of the Vatican. Sen. John F. Kerry, on the contrary, essentially lost this election because he could not convince voters that he was Catholic enough.

Clearly, times are changing. God has ceased to be that chubby playground wallflower who patiently waits on the bench with the girly-girls and the nerds while the cool kids battle it out on the kickball field. He has, instead, become so dominant and so popular, that it is safe to say that neither team can possibly win without Him. So now, the question becomes, will the Democrats make the wise decision and attempt to add God’s powerful foot to their team in 2008?

Or will they stubbornly stick with their lineup of fat kids?

Joey Falco is a sophomore American Studies major. He can be reached at jfalco@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.