briefly, america’s moreno moment


It would be hilarious if it weren’t so awe-inspiringly cynical and foolhardy.

Apparently, while I was feeding babies and trying to catch scant few hours of sleep, a deal between a contingency of nations and Iran was agreed upon in principle for the former to relieve long-standing sanctions and partially thaw frozen international bank accounts in exchange for the latter “to halt or scale back parts of its nuclear infrastructure,” according to this morning’s breathless reporting in the Washington Post.

I am not a political pundit, and I don’t claim expertise in international diplomacy or foreign relations. In fact, I go to great lengths to avoid the low-hanging bitter fruit of American politics (there is a reality away from such nonsense and real issues and perspectives worth exploring.) Far more often than not, it’s just not worth the heartache or the polarization. (Yes, I just said that.)

That said, really?!? The economy is in a stagflationary spiral, Barrycare has been a cluster from the get-go, sowing havoc into the insurance and healthcare industries and, in the overnight hours immediately preceding the overly-[self-]important Sunday morning political talk shows, we strike a deal with a rogue state with nuclear ambitions? Really?

The easy historical analogy is Neville Chamberlain’s ‘peace in our time’, or the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact. Personally, I find a more-recent, non-political one more compelling: the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The Angels, with owner Arte Moreno’s loose pursestrings, while the 2011-’12 hot stove was churning, shelled out high-priced, long-term contracts to a number of high-profile players: CJ Wilson, Josh Hamilton, Jered Weaver and, to the chagrin of nearby Cardinals Nation, Albert Pujols. Between the five of them, only Wilson remotely earned his check–and even then, the numbers weren’t commensurate with the performance. Weaver struggled through an injury-plagued season and Hamilton and Pujols laid eggs in their debut campaign with LA. A ton of money, designed to make the Angels a formidable force, landed them in the throes of mediocrity, and the massive contracts to Hamilton and Pujols in particular look foolish.

Throwing money around with the intent to solve problems or placate aggrieved parties is nothing new in fiscal, political, litigious or, for the sake of this matter, pro sports America. More often than not, it doesn’t work, with the few cases where it does statistical outliers.

If it doesn’t work with mutually-agreeable parties–sports franchises looking for players and players looking for teams–how would this ever work with a despotic state that, given the opportunity, would be far more inclined to blow us off the planet than beat their uranium isotopes into plowshares?

This is America’s Moreno moment. And there’s far more at stake than a pennant and a trophy. I wish our political leaders would look beyond their own ambition and desire to change the polling optics to see that.

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