It seems weird that the Christmastime column comes after the big rush to spend has been here for so long. It is not very Christmassy but Christ’s message was a bit outside that modern box as well.
As I was spreading my beautiful composted manure, I was listening to The BBC World Service-Newshour. They were talking about Obama’s supposed move to normalize relations with Cuba and I was singing “Joy to the World.”
Then my ears pricked up. That voice. It made me delirious with pleasure. It was Vin Scully in his 65th year as the Dodgers’ announcer calling a play by center fielder, Yasiel Puig.
I was eight years old when the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. I’m 64 now and Vin Scully has announced Dodger games one year longer than I’ve been alive. When my folks thought I was asleep, I’d have the covers over my head with the Dodger game on my transistor radio listening to Vinny.
Maybe it is the tendency to see the old days as better than the present, but I liked that players stayed with the team back then. Six of the Dodgers’ ten retired numbers were Dodgers when I was a kid. Just Dodgers. There were no free agents. No defections. But now I’ve turned over a new leaf. I’m a big fan of defections.
Yasiel Puig defected from Cuba to be a Dodger in 2012. Why in the world would anyone leave his home to sign a seven year, $42 million contract to play baseball, when he already lived in a country with the perfect healthcare plan? People do the strangest things.
Now I hear so-called conservatives complaining, no, whining about Obama’s liberalization of our relations with Cuba. These isolationists need to understand the value of freedom for which they claim such an exclusive understanding. In a country where most medical spending has been socialized for fifty years and whistle-blowers like Gary Webb and Michael Hastings have been assassinated, they are certainly a pot calling the kettle black.
I don’t deny that Cuba has been a serious human rights nightmare. But the question we should be asking is what role do we play in their politics. The role we have been playing has not produced the intended results, unless we are happy with having one of the poorest countries in the world next door.
Their communistic economy, of course, is the main source of their misery. But of all the good the United States has done in the world, the example of freedom is the most powerful. Our sanctions have done nothing to tear down their totalitarian government.
Yasiel Puig is a perfect example of why we need Jefferson’s ideal of peace and free trade with all nations and entangling alliances with none.
A scenario of open relations with Cuba should look like this: Excellence should flow from the country with less opportunity to the country where that excellence can flourish. The tax feeders, like windmill companies and inter-generational welfare dependents should flow to countries like Cuba where the market is suppressed and government control stifles excellence. When it becomes even more obvious which system is more beneficial for its citizens, reform will follow.
The fly in the ointment is this: Our country has become so infested with anti-market policies that our systems have become very similar to Cuba. Corruption, like Governor Brandstad’s rural broadband initiative and other handouts to incentivize population and business growth, may make productive individuals think twice about moving or expanding here, unless their intent is to feed on taxpayers.
The Marco Rubios of this country need to focus on dismantling the welfare/warfare state that is bankrupting our country before imposing their will on Cuba for doing what they allow to go on here.
A society where the Puigs play baseball and the Brandstads wait tables would be a great Christmas present to Cubans and us as we celebrate the birth of our Savior who referred us to The Ten Commandments as opposed to the rules of man. It’s a small gift, Barack, but we thank you.