Humanity’s yin and yang


A couple of years ago, I wrote something here about yin and yang, and applied them to baseball in general, and Theo Epstein in particular. It’s now two years later, and the Cubs are still stuck in the depths of yin, but I wanted to revisit the Taoist ideal as it relates to the polar opposites of humanity, as pictured above.

I really do appreciate the new pope’s willingness to attack inequality and the reasons why it exists. He’s certainly put those who embrace a market-based faith in capitalism on the defensive, and that’s a good thing. If Rush Limbaugh calls the pope a Marxist, I say keep doing what you’re doing, your Holiness. Ideas about compassion and love are definitely yang, so far as I’m concerned.

And then there’s the guy on the left up above. I wrote about him once, and I had hoped that was enough. But when I saw an image of him and Pope Francis side by side, with one attired in white, and the other one clad in black, I knew I had to revisit Limbaugh. Perhaps this will be the last time (I don’t know).

There can’t be a clearer contrast between two visions of humanity. Their facial expressions alone are enough to tell the difference between them. The one on the left, Rush Yinbaugh–I like the way that sounds–is all about himself, while the one on the right, Pope Francis, is all about helping others. He’s stirring things up, and I applaud him for doing so. He is the yang to Rush Limbaugh’s yin, and I’m looking forward to hearing more from him in the months and years to come.


What the future holds


Whenever I go to an estate sale, I invariably head toward the basement. My experience is that anything I might want to buy can be found there. And today was no exception.

I found the bookshelves in the basement, and quickly perused the titles. There was nothing I wanted to buy, but the one title that interested me was Rush Limbaugh’s The Way Things Ought To Be.

The book wouldn’t be on the deceased’s bookshelves unless there was a resonance with his world view. The aggrieved white man, who is threatened by a changing world, always gravitates to Limbaugh and his brand of humbug.

So now there’s one less person who agrees with Limbaugh in the world. Actually there are lots fewer people like this, as this title appears at estate sales all the time. The “dittohead” will probably never die out completely, so long as someone will pay Limbaugh to spout his toxic rantings on the airwaves. But their ranks are thinning,  and that’s the Way it Ought to Be.

Sandra Fluke and the Kill for/Die for thing

It’s a typical Saturday morning, and around my house that means ice skating. My older daughter had a lesson with a coach at one local skating rink, and my younger daughter had another lesson at another rink. It’s a good thing that we have two cars and two drivers to acommodate them.

After I drove my little one to her practice, paid her coach, tied up her skates, and made sure she got onto the ice OK, I stood and watched her for a few minutes. I was bursting inside with my feelings of pride and love for her. Earlier in my life, before I had kids of my own, I would have considered such thoughts sappy and suspect in some way. But now, having crossed over to the other side, I completely understand them. That’s just how it works.

After leaving the ice rink area, I came upon a news story about Sandra Fluke, Rush Limbaugh, and President Obama. As I watched the story, the afterglow of my thoughts about my young daughter brought the story home to me in a way that I otherwise would not have considered. And of course the first thing I wanted to do was capture those thoughts in this space, before everyday life comes in and strips the story of any meaning.

I love my daughters so much that I would kill for them, if it ever came to some outlandish situation where that would be necessary. I don’t want to do that, and I’m not a killer on any other level, but I would do it without any hesitation or regret. And, on the other end of that spectrum, I would lay down my life for them, if another situation were to arise where it would be needed. I love my life, but I love them more. And I would hope that every parent feels this way.

When filtered through this lens, the difference between Rush Limbaugh and Barack Obama became crystal clear to me. Obama is a parent; Limbaugh is not. That’s why Obama called Sandra Fluke, and mentioned her parents in the phone call. It wasn’t meant to score political points for him, although surely that’s what’s happening. The reason for the phone call is that Obama has that kill for/die for thing about his own children, and he acted on that in order to reach out to a young woman who is in a difficult place right now.

And who put her into this difficult place? A man who has no children himself, and almost certainly lacks the kill for/die for thing that Obama has, and that I have, and that perhaps you have. Limbaugh could apologize, as some people seem to want, but he won’t mean it. It would be a grudging, carefully-worded sentence if it ever comes at all, and it will be done for the sole purpose of saving millions of dollars in ad sales for his radio show. I doubt that it will come, and if it does, it won’t change the fact that he lacks–and always will lack–the kill for/die for thing within himself.

Am I judging him? Not really. He is what he is, and I’m too charitable and too rushed for time (no pun intended) to try to spell that out here. And I’m not saying parents are any better than non-parents. This is not meant to put me or anyone else on a pedestal. But it is meant to suggest that Limbaugh did what he did for a reason, and Obama did what he did for an entirely different reason. And I’m glad that the one I identify with is the one who’s running the country.

UPDATE: Limbaugh did issue an apology on his website on Saturday. It was far more direct than anything I had expected to see from him. But he has lost many advertisers over this, and he deserves every bit of the losses he incurs.