After writing a series of articles and making a series of videos about the fight for real health reform, from a Florida perspective, I recently took a little end-of-Summer break to catch my breath and cleanse the old mental palate before coming back for more.
For me, Sports - Baseball, to be specific - New York Yankees Baseball, to be honest - has always helped that way, providing a refreshing and restorative change of cerebral scenery.
As Fate would have it, flying from Florida to NYC, visiting the impressive new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and watching the Yanks play 3 games in 3 days against 3 different opponents proved to be both great escape, and apt allegory.
Quick note to all you head-shaking Red Sox fans and assorted other Yankee-haters: Give me a break, I was born and raised for the first 12 years of my life about a mile and a half away from Yankee Stadium. It's a cliche', sure, but it's in my blood.
Also in my blood, passed down from politically informed and involved immigrant grandparents, to my activist/unionist mother, to my brothers and me, and to our children, is an acute awareness of the ongoing social struggle of working families for a better life.
So not so strangely enough, I left the Bronx after the last of my three-game set, heading back to The Sunshine State with a cloud of baseball and health reform thoughts swirling together in my noggin.
Excited lifer of a Yankee fan that I am, I can't help but have World Series dreams after seeing The Good, The Bad. And The Ugly aspects of the team during my 3-game close-up look. As imperfect as they may have been on a number of levels, I still came away believing they could end up as the last team standing this year.
On the flight from LaGuardia to West Palm Beach, alternating between reading Sports & News recaps and forecasts, I couldn't avoid the analogous juxtaposition of the Yankees' 2009 battle to win a World Series for the first time since 2000, and a U.S. President's struggle to win a Big Victory for America's working wounded and middle-class families - also for the first time since 2000.
I had just watched the Yankees successively blow away a far lesser opponent, find a way to come from behind and win against a very tough opponent, and finally, under-perform and brazenly brawl in the dirt and dust of an ugly loss to a mediocre opponent.
Even though my final firsthand look was at The Bad And The Ugly of this year's team, I saw and felt enough of The Good - a combination of talent, grit, and spirit - to make me a believer, to let me dream those World Series dreams without feeling delusional.
And what about the allegory? How has the Obama team's current season unfolded in this summer of health care reform discontent?
Forget the World Series, what about dreams of real, transformative health care reform?
Well, great mid-flight thinker that I am, I munched my wee free airline snack and postulated that if the Obama administration could just reverse the order of events as they'd unfolded for the Yanks over their trio of games, then hell, they too could win it all this Fall, fulfilling a dream that would be one for the books, as they say.
I sipped orange juice - okay, a screwdriver - and reflected about my version of Game One in this litmus test of potential success - how President Obama and his administration had for months under-performed and scuffled over health reform in political trench warfare against - no similarity or offense intended to any Yankee opponents, mind you - the Insurance & Drug cartels' frontline armada of tea-baggers, know-nothings and kooks.
As was the case when the Yankees left their "A" game at home and ended up getting into a wrestling match, Team Obama was a big, bad and ugly loser in Game One.
But any great competitor in any arena, any great team in any endeavor, is great in large part because of an ability to learn from mistakes, adapt, and overcome.