Tiger Woods, Barbara Boxer, the Rules of Golf and the Electoral College

Bear with me for a minute.

Let’s say it’s 2000 and Tiger Woods is charging toward the 72nd hole of the Masters. Were he to win, it would give Woods all four major professional majors in 2000. We’re not talking about some feeble Tiger Slam. No, I’m talking about all four majors in the same calendar year.

Wow. What happened?

On the 72nd, hole, the legendary par-4 finishing hole at Augusta National Tiger Woods smashed a perfect drive, just right of the fairway bunkers. But, as it bounced to a stop it skipped into a fairway divot. The announcers and Woods moaned in near-poetic unison.

Pure injustice…

tiger-woods-ball-in-divot

Woods glowered at the ball and the divot. He cursed the golf gods. He cursed the player who created that horrid divot. He cursed his bad luck. But, more than anything he cursed the rule of golf that prevented him from taking relief from a tiny bit of missing turf in the middle of the fairway. Clearly, this was an area of the golf course that was damaged and according to the rules, ground under repair. But it wasn’t…So Woods played the ball as it sat; made bogey and missed winning the 2000 Masters by a single stroke.

Then. again in my alternate time, just a few months ago at the 2016 PGA Championship, Woods stood over a putt that would have won him  his 15th major championship. Halfway to the hole was a nasty spike mark, dead in Woods’ line. Again, he stared at the mark and cursed the universe and the USGA rule that prohibits the repair  of such marks. He settled over his putt and made the perfect stroke.

The ball rolled end over end, destined for the hole, right until the moment that it hit that single unrepairable spike mark.

Tiger Woods was denied another major and the legions of golf fans felt denied. Through no fault of his own, the arbitrary, senseless rules of golf had seemingly conspired to the deny the best player of our era a deserved win.

Also in this fantasy world, imagine this:

Tiger Woods saw fit to use his immense wealth and fame to coerce the USGA and the R&A to correct the silly, foolish rules that upset his path to history. The golf world would have turned against him instantly. This would not be the actions of another athlete who cheated on his wife and children. No, these would be the actions of a man who found himself at odds with the very same rules he had played under his entire professional and amateur career. His motives would be clear to everyone and so his legend would be destroyed. The same fans who could forgive his foolish and inexplicable banging of strippers and Perkins’ waitresses could never accept his effort to change the rules for the sake of his own record. Woods’ fans could accept any weakness but a surrender to the same rules that everyone plays by.

This is exactly the mistake Barbara Boxer has made in the aftermath of the hotly contested 2016 presidential election. She has seen her party and platform stung by the effect of the electoral college for the second time in less than a generation and she’s not going to stand still for it. But, the problem is that her motivation is too clearly in the interest of her party rather than her country. I think there’s a simple test to prove my belief. Boxer has been a US senator since 1992. In that time, there have been seven presidential elections but the only other time she has devoted any energy to the electoral college was in 2005 when she challenged Ohio’s electors in a futile effort to delay the re-election of George W. Bush, who had just won the popular vote over John Kerry by more than 3 million votes.

Me? I’m on the fence about the electoral college. However, I do firmly believe that Rule 16-1c (the rule that prohibits repairing a spike mark on the green) is fundamentally unfair.

At the same time, I think the rule that disallows taking relief from a fairway divot should stand. The text of Rule 13 is simple.

Play the ball as it lies.

I wonder if Barbara Boxer plays golf?

 

Tiger Woods, Barbara Boxer, the Rules of Golf and the Electoral College

What’s Really Bothering Everyone About Trump Being Elected?

I spent the morning researching what it takes to move to Canada; I’m serious.

I’m so fuckin’depressed.

What gets me is that 60,000,00 people were stupid enough to elect him.

What about the supreme court?

Me? I’m not depressed, but I am disappointed. I’m disappointed that a 70 year old rich guy learned to use the internet to greater advantage than the republican and democratic parties combined. Worse, I’m disappointed that Trump’s use of the internet exploits its worst quality; that being the ability for a person to write something really shitty about someone who’s in no position to mount a contemporaneous defense.

I’m also disappointed that many of the people who supported Donald Trump don’t realize how lucky Trump is that the constitution (that old musty document they’ve never read) provided for the electoral college and that it alone circumvented the will of the people to elect Hillary Clinton, just like it did to Al Gore.

Of course, I’m also disappointed that many people are having a problem simply hoping that Trump will do a better job governing than they think he’ll do. Isn’t hope what you have left when your candidate doesn’t carry the day? Didn’t we hope back in 2008 and 2012 that those who did not support Obama could at least hope for his success, for the sake of everyone, for the sake of the country? President Obama’s efforts to do exactly that, now that the election is over, make me very proud indeed.

Pessimism serves us no better now than it ever has. At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with speaking up. As John McCain said regarding some of Trump’s early appointments, “Be very vigilant, America.”

Now let’s talk about lies and the people who tell them.

For some reason, the people who elected Trump don’t seem to care that Trump doesn’t care when he lies. They like the lie that Apple will bring its jobs back to the US from China because Trump tells them to. They like the lie that Trump will deport millions by fiat and that Mexico is busy getting ready to take out its check book to pay for the wall, I mean the fence, or whatever Trump says he’s building today. They loved the idea that the election was rigged, at least when they thought their man was about to go down in defeat. They love that Trump keeps telling them that he won big, that his victory is some kind of mandate. But, surely their favorite lie is the one that holds that sometime in the not-so-distant past an uneducated doofus was guaranteed a good job at a fair wage for doing something that didn’t require a lot of knowledge or skill. As if that day ever existed.

The best of our politicians act with what is called enlightened self interest (don’t blame me; this is a term from political science. That’s right, I said science. Sorry.). This explains why a guy like Trump (and Mitt Romney back in 2012) ran on the promise of lower taxes for the rich people of this country.

Bummer. I guess that was a bad example. Lower taxes for the rich pretty much only rang the bell for the idea of self interest. I guess enlightenment is a tougher nut for politicians.

Surely Hillary Clinton was all about enlightened self interest. I mean, she likes minorities and women, doesn’t she? Crash. There went the highest glass ceiling of all. I ask one question and one question only. Had Clinton been any other State Department employee do you think she would have dodged prosecution by the justification that carrying an extra cell phone constituted an undue burden?

Not a chance.

Hillary Clinton has nearly as poor a record on the enlightenment test as Trump. She was as tone deaf to the genuinely progressive chords struck by Bernie Sanders as she was to the non-xenophobic aspects of the populism that Trump campaigned on.

Free college tuition? Sanders’ idea. Take a hard look at trade deals? Trump’s idea.

What was Hillary Clinton’s idea? To ride into the White House on the heels of Barack Obama’s 51% approval rating under the clever campaign slogan: “You like this guy? I’m just like him. Except I’m not. By the way, please ignore the way I savaged him in the 2008 primary contest. I really like him; he’s a cool dude!”

You really have to wonder what really makes Hillary Clinton tick.

So, we are now left to face the results of our living democracy. The country has elected a man who will likely enjoy being called Mr. President far more than he will like actually being our president. He spent his first interview with 60 Minutes walking back much of the feature points of his campaign. Big surprise. This is not a man who has a problem with revision. As time passes, the people who elected Trump will come face to face with a man without a single concern for their plight. Who knows? They may finally learn the difference between the truth and a lie.

What’s Really Bothering Everyone About Trump Being Elected?