Recent polling indicates that approximately one third of Americans believe a second American Civil War is in the offing in the next five years. Watching network news and monitoring internet hysteria, one would think we were on the brink of another American Civil War any day now.
But before you stock up on previsions or transfer all your money to cyber-currency, take a deep breath and try to look at things from a different perspective. One of the great ways to do this is to try to find the normal in troubled times.
May I suggest this year’s Major League All-Star game Tuesday night in Washington D.C.?
Outside of an entertaining game with the world’s finest baseball players and the always fun Home Run Hitting Contest the day before, The All-Star game offers America a bit of continuity, as they have been playing it every year without fail since 1933.
Perhaps it is fitting that this year’s game is being held in our nation’s capital. This is the fifth time Washington D.C. has hosted the game, and to put our present problems in perspective it is helpful to look at the first and last time the All-Star game was played in Washington: 1937 and 1969 respectively.
In 1937 America was in the midst of the Great Depression with unemployment hovering around twenty percent and if the economy wasn’t bad enough, that year we had a recession in the middle of the depression. In Europe, Hitler and Mussolini gathered strength, and in Spain a civil war was ongoing where both the communists and fascists tried to influence the outcome. In Asia, the imperial Japanese army attacked China. Talk about a troubled time.
Moving forward to 1969, despite the fact that America was only three days removed from the remarkable accomplishment of landing on the moon when the All-Star game was played, it was far from a tranquil period. In the previous few years, race riots rocked many urban areas as the middle class fled for the suburbs. Deans’ offices were being taken over by radical college students, and young adults were in open revolt of their parents. Meanwhile in Vietnam, America was facing the prospect of potentially losing a War to a third world country, while the communist domino theory seemed to be unfolding as Cambodia and Laos also appeared to be in peril.
In contrast to 1937 and 1969, America today doesn’t seem to be in too bad of shape. Even our current domestic political squabbling is nothing new.
In 1937 New Dealers and Republicans fought over how big the government would grow, and FDR attempted to expand the Supreme Court past nine justices to give his policies unchecked supremacy. In 1969 not only did Republicans and Democrats fight with one another, the two parties couldn’t even agree internally. Rockefeller Republicans battled with the more conservative Reagan/Goldwater wing of the Republican Party for dominance, and Southern Democrats and Liberal Northeastern Democrats never saw eye to eye on much. It should also be noted that the previous year, the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago is best remembered by the riot that took place on the streets outside the convention.
So as you take a break from politics by watching this year’s All-Star game in Washington, take comfort in knowing America’s internal fighting is nothing new, and despite who wins the game, the American League or National, you can probably count on America to keep chugging along, just fine thank you.
Matthew Kastel is a 25-year veteran of working as an executive in the world of sports, including professional teams, organizations, and some of the largest vendors in the industry. Matt has also written two novels and teaches and lectures at universities on the business of sports. For more information you can visit his website at thirdstrikeproductions.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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