With apologies to Karl Marx, sports is the opiate of the masses, and for some good reasons.
Among them is that the final score is the verdict and there is no sugarcoating failure or ducking accountability.
An excellent example of character in defeat was on display in the Yankees’ clubhouse following Monday’s gut-wrenching loss to Cleveland.
Relief pitcher Clay Holmes ruined a magnificent performance by the starting pitcher and cost his team a victory.
Afterwards, he faced reporters.
The questions were direct, his answers were painfully honest.
“Bottom line, I need to be better,” he said about his pitches.
Regarding a crucial error he made, Holmes said, “It’s a play I should make . . . I should have made it.”
It went on like that for five or six minutes, a TV camera so close to his face that tiny beads of sweat could be seen forming on his upper lip.
Yet the 30-year-old pitcher never ducked a question or responsibility.
Playing the race card
Watching him, I couldn’t help but think of the contrasting way politicians respond to failure.
It’s not just that they almost never accept responsibility.
It’s that they go to extremes to find someone else to blame.
Take Mayor Adams. Earlier Monday, he was so desperate to find someone to blame for a problem he largely created, he reached in the gutter and pulled out the race card.
His designated bogeyman is Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, whose border state has been overrun with millions of illegal crossers given a greenlight by the Biden administration.
Abbott, a white Republican, and other southern governors have been shipping a relative handful of those migrants to New York, Chicago and Washington, DC, in hopes that the Democratic mayors of those cities would feel the pain and demand that the Democrat in the White House close the border to stem the stampede.
But Adams never saw the larger picture or the obvious solution, and instead trumpeted New York’s sanctuary-city status.
He was a walking, talking virtue signal as he rolled out the red carpet and even made a deal with the Dem mayor of El Paso to send thousands of migrants directly to Gotham.
On the fly, he ordered a tent city on Randall’s Island, then dismantled it when it flooded.
He was soon spending millions of dollars each day to take over Midtown hotels that would normally cater to tourists.
Chaos ensued, inside and outside the hotels, and far-left advocates helped the migrants push back against plans to move to less ritzy digs outside Manhattan.
Trying to persuade them to move instead of forcing them, the mayor spent a cold February night on a cot in a Brooklyn cruise-ship terminal.
He also made plans to enroll hundreds of migrants in an upstate college, at no cost, a splurge of generosity not available to legal immigrants or citizens.
Instead of leading to solutions, Adams’ efforts served to underscore how badly he had miscalculated.
It is without doubt the biggest mistake of his mayoralty, one that is swamping his efforts to bring budget restraint while also making the city safer, cleaner and more orderly.
And now, as the price of his misbegotten venture continues to soar and as thousands of New Yorkers continue to flee to safer and saner climes, he’s settled on a scapegoat.
His blame game is transparently false and misleading. And extremely disappointing.
Consider that already there are some 60,000 migrants in the five boroughs, but only 5,200 were sent by Abbott. Of the total, more than half are living in hotels and shelters at city taxpayers’ expense.
Throw in the costs of schools, health care, food and incidentals, and the tab will hit $4.3 billion over two years, City Hall says.
And that doesn’t include the push by advocates for the migrants to be eligible for free permanent housing, along with some 58,000 homeless people waiting their turn for permanent housing in city shelters.
It didn’t take a genius to realize that the mayor’s approach would create an unsustainable problem as long as the border remained open.
But only now, months later, with the numbers still growing and with Biden still not helping and Albany only barely, Adams decides to change the subject by labeling Abbott’s strategy racist.
His unfortunate statement Monday called the busing program “morally bankrupt and devoid of any concern for the well-being of asylum seekers,” and claimed that Abbott is “using this crisis to hurt Black-run cities.”
Cheap shots don’t get any cheaper.
Rightfully pin it on DC
In fairness, Adams has recently stepped up his criticism of Biden for not helping the city cover the costs.
Following the release of his proposed $107 billion budget, the mayor said “The issue is not the asylum seekers, the issue is the fact that the national government is not doing its job.”
But his complaints have been late and erratic, about Washington and Albany.
In both cases, he squandered a moment of maximum leverage during last year’s elections.
With Dems fighting to hold congress and Gov. Hochul in a tight race, the mayor could have let it be known that his endorsements and support were conditional on help.
But he gave the endorsements and got nothing in return despite saying that “every service in the city is going to be impacted by the asylum seeker crisis.”
Given that acknowledgment, why hasn’t he at least leaned on New York’s powerful congressional delegation to get the White House to help?
Indeed, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries both from Brooklyn, it is a dereliction of duty for Adams not to have pushed them to get the administration to change course on the border and start to share the burden.
Certainly the delegations from other blue cities and states would have jumped on board.
Still, Biden’s decision to finally send troops to the border to stop an expected new wave of migrants after the end of federal Title 42 expulsion powers gives the mayor the perfect window to change his own approach.
He should seize it.
Otherwise, he will be dooming the city and his tenure to abject failure.
Reader Anita Mule offers a view on changing times, writing: “Remember when there were topics of conversation that were not appropriate for mixed company? I miss those days.
“And remember when Protestants were people who were worried that somewhere, someone was happy? It seems that the Democrats have taken over that philosophy.”
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