In 1995, the game of baseball was in trouble. Because of a players’ strike, 47 of games of the previous season had been cancelled, including the entire 1994 playoffs and World Series. The previous 2 Fall Classics had been won by an un-American team, the Toronto Blue Jays. League attendance was down, the sport had no commissioner, and the game’s overall popularity had dropped below football and Seinfeld reruns. The game was at its nadir.
Three years later in 1998, baseball was reborn through the heroic efforts of Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa who saved the game with their historic race to dethrone Roger Maris as the game’s single season home run champion. McGuire, with his Paul Bunyan-sized biceps and Sammy Sosa, with his hop step towards first and his signature corked bats, injected energy and excitement into baseball when it was needed most. As we now know, that’s not all they injected.
These now-disgraced American legends proved what we had been told for years – there really is better living through chemistry.
We pretended at the time that we were unaware of their generous usage of performance enhancing drugs. We pretended that human arms could grow to the size of watermelons without a chemical assist. We pretended that balls could fly above the firmament with a flick of the wrists, but deep down we knew the truth. And we accepted it. The game was saved and we didn’t care how it happened.
Today, it is our politics that is broken. Congressional popularity is down and there is a looming government shutdown. The political game’s core economics are out of alignment with reality and the discipline has no commissioner. Our challenge is to restore politics to its rightful place among the admired professions and it will take a Ruthian effort. We need to inject something into politics so it will popular again.
Let’s embrace the example of McGuire and Sosa in our politics. We need to aggressively advocate for the use of PEDs by our political leaders. Ending the costly War on Performance Enhancing Drugs during this Congress should be a bipartisan goal. Our politics can be saved, but it’s going to take some chemical juice to get the job done.
It’s a dirty little secret that PEDs have been a part of politics for decades. In 1994, rumors were rampant that Newt Gingrich led the Republican takeover of the House with the help of PEDs. Pundits noted how much larger his head became right around that same period of time, a telltale side effect of PED usage. Bill Clinton has long been suspected of using during that era. How else could you explain his rising popularity in the wake of an impeachment trial? That cannot happen without an illicit injection of something in his posterior.
Performance enhancing drugs could help our weak legislators take on the tough challenges that face our nation. A few well-calibrated injections in the rump could help an otherwise average Representative lead the charge to solve the fiscal cliff or conquer the scourge of sequestration. A Congressman on PEDs could rewrite the record book of legislative accomplishments and usher in a new era of rising popularity numbers, lower deficits and greater comity instead of comedy.
The arguments against PEDs in politics are many. Prolonged usage may lead to shortened term expectancies, poor complexions, and anger issues. I would counter that our members of Congress already suffer from poor skin and anger issues (have you watched C-SPAN lately?), and shortened terms in office may not necessarily be a bad thing. I believe the potential benefits to the political game outweigh these unsightly side effects.
Yes, it is true that future generations of Americans may withhold their votes for these medically enhanced lawmakers from induction into any Political Hall of Fame. Yes, history may judge them as cheaters. But like McGuire and Sosa, wouldn’t they also deserve our thanks for saving the game we love?
Let’s end the drug war. Let’s allow our political heroes to juice. Personally, I’d like to be the first American voter to inject a member of Congress with a needle in the backside.
Hold still. This won’t hurt a bit.
Did You Know?
…Performance enhancing drugs are suspected to have first been used in politics by our 22nd President Grover Cleveland who, after his devastating electoral loss in 1888, recovered quickly to win election as our 24th President in 1892.
…The Baseball Hall of Fame selection criteria includes “character” as a qualification, while selection to the U.S. Congress does not.
…The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has confirmed reports that Lance Armstrong’s blood content is 92% water and 8% ‘chemicals’.
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