Thursday, February 12, 2009

On Steroids and such

There was probably a time, long ago, when politicians told the truth, kept the promises they made, and acted with integrity. Then, one day, a politician lied, broke a promise, took a bribe. Politics is a difficult, demanding career, but once lies and corruption were discovered, suddenly it wasn't so difficult, so demanding. And the rewards were far greater than what came before. So with very little fanfare or protest, politicians became untrustworthy, corrupt, accomplished liars. Once it became commonplace, it was accepted as an unavoidable aspect of politics. Is this politician a liar? Is that one? Who can tell? Better to assume that they all are, to keep lowering our expectations instead of demanding more from those who would lead us.

We are at the stage now where it is impossible to say if a given player had used steroids or not, so a whole generation of players are being tagged as 'steroid-era'. I was a fan of Fred McGriff, and while he didn't seem like the type to use steroids, who can say? Once the use of performance-enhancing drugs becomes commonplace, it will be accepted as an unavoidable aspect of sports, and once that happens, then like politics, we will never be able to return to the days of old.

But then, maybe politicians have always been untrustworthy, corrupt liars, and maybe athletes have always used whatever would give them a competitive advantage. Maybe nothing ever changes but the names and the background scenery. If that's the case, is ignorance not bliss?


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