It’s just ours, but Mitch McConnell, leader of the Republicans in the US Senate, is already leading the race for this year’s most cynical quote. “My warning to American companies is to stay out of politics,” he said this week before making a sound clarification: “But I’m not talking about political contributions.”
In short, thank you for your money, but do not get involved in social issues that affect the country. Just fund our campaigns, and we’ll keep your taxes low, unlike the damned Socialists of the Democratic Party!
McConnell is a cunning politician with fluctuating morals, as he has so often demonstrated. But I admit that by reading his comments in my colleague Richard Héto’s blog, he still managed to surprise me.
Why this tirade from the senator? Because he’s so mad at Major League Baseball for moving the All-Star Game next July from Atlanta to Denver. This meeting was to honor Hank Aaron, the greatest player in Brave’s history, who died in January last year. With the support of the Players Association, Commissioner Rob Manfred took this decision to protest the new election law in the state of Georgia, where Atlanta is the metropolis.
Adopted by elected Republican officials who are still furious that their state voted for Joe Biden and two Democratic senators in the last election cycle, this law complicates voter registration and restricts access to the ballot. African Americans, who largely support Democrats, will be the first victims.
One provision symbolizes wonderfully vicious designers of this law: it is now forbidden, under punishment for committing an offense, to offer a bottle of water to a person queuing in front of the polling station, regardless of the heat and heat duration of the wait. “An anti-American law,” said President Joe Biden.
Major League Baseball has corporate allies in its opposition to the law. The CNBC network has listed them. These include Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines, headquartered in Georgia; Porsche, which manages its US operations from Atlanta; drug giants Merck, American Express, Bank of America …
The Republican war machine then opened fire, spurred on by chief guru Donald Trump. In a message written in the war tone of his previous interventions on Twitter, he condemned the big baseball that “already loses a dazzling number of fans” and that withdraws its game from the Atlanta Stars because it fears “the radical Democrats.”
Trump then gave this advice to his supporters: “Boycott baseball and all the” awake “businesses that interfere with free and fair elections. Listen, Cola, Delta and the rest! ”
The Texas government, Greg Abbott, then refused to take the ceremonial pitch before the Texas Rangers’ first game of the season to condemn Manfred and baseball in the major league.
The match between Republicans and Major League Baseball is reminiscent of that between the Trump administration and the National Football League more than three years ago. Remember: the ex-president (by the way, I never had much fun writing the word “ex”) had insulted NFL players who fell to their knees during the national anthem in protest of racial disturbances.
This outing was condemned by several NFL team owners. Unfortunately, this solidarity with the players was short-lived. Fearing the reaction of some of the audience, a setback from advertisers and Trump’s anger, the owners did everything to calm the situation. It was not until last summer that the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, came out clearly for equality.
What will happen this time? Will Trump’s boycott petition be followed? Will Republicans increase pressure to threaten large American companies that want to defend the widest possible access to the vote?
Very smart that can predict what will happen next in this country where the divisions are most marked in modern times. That said, Majorball is now in a better position than the NFL in 2017 to resist this bullying.
First, it is current President Joe Biden, whose influence is enormous, and not Donald Trump, who no longer radiates with the same intensity outside Republican circles.
Secondly, the subject of the debate – a law in Georgia – despite its crucial importance, is not such an emotional issue across the United States as the attitude to take during the performance of the national anthem. Many Americans have a strong idea about this topic. Remember: Republicans demonized the refusal to stand up during the national anthem by associating it with an insult to military members and veterans.
On the other hand, it will be necessary to monitor whether American companies that have taken a stand on the law will take other initiatives to condemn it. Or whether they will be happy with the press releases published in recent days.
In an ideal world, sports and politics would be separate sectors. But it never was. Today, they are even more closely linked, especially in the United States.
We are witnessing a fraternal struggle among our neighbors to the south. A battle between two notions of the country and of democracy. From then on, powerful cultural symbols – such as football and baseball – will inevitably become pieces of the chessboard.
At least in this historic match, it’s heartwarming to see Major League Baseball choose the right side and forcefully and proudly reject Georgia’s regrettable new election law.