It continues to be a banner year for Tennessee athletes. Congratulations and kudos are in order for the Goodlettsville little leaguers who finished first in the U.S. and second in the world, to the Kitasuna all-star team from Tokyo, Japan.
Goodlettsville has a population of around 16,000 while Tokyo’s is closer to 16 million (including suburbs) so the young Tennesseans had an uphill climb against the best talent from Japan’s largest city, losing 12-2 in the finale.
The American and Japanese players displayed remarkable sportsmanship. In the bottom of the first, Goodlettsville’s Justin Smith hit Rintaro Hirano with a pitch. After Hirano made it to first, Smith walked over to make sure he was OK. When Brock Myers homered off Kotaro Kiyomiya, the pitcher congratulated Myers after he crossed home.
“Tennessee was our best friends in the U.S. division,” Kiyomiya said.
After the game was called due to the little league 10-run rule, in a symbolic gesture of friendship and goodwill, the Japanese players jogged the traditional post-game victory lap carrying the flags of both countries.
There was no need for the Americans to hang their heads or mope, nor did they plan to. “When we get home, it’s going to be a carnival,” Goodlettsville manager Joey Hale said.
The Americans were gracious in defeat, although there were really no losers, only winners. Hale called Japan “the best team in the tournament.” Goodlettsville star Brock Myers said, “We’re the second-best team in the world. That’s pretty good, I guess. I’m all right with that.”
But it’s hard to find such grace in American politics these days. Not only are many American politicians bad winners and worse losers, but they constantly puff up their chests and brag about American “exceptionalism,” which suggests that earth’s other nations are at best second-rate.
Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee is one of the ringleaders and rising stars of a Republican Party that increasingly lacks grace. And yet she praised the GOP’s updated anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-minority, anti-union, anti-anyone-who-isn’t-a-rich-white-Christian-man-in-picture-perfect-health platform. In her speech at the Republican National Convention, Blackburn told the wildly cheering throng that this platform would help the GOP be known as the “Great Opportunity Party.”
Like the RNC’s keynote speaker, Chris Christie, Blackburn referred to the “American Century.” What do Republicans mean when they talk about an “American Century”?
And here are enlightening excerpts from a speech made at the Citadel by the GOP’s new main man, Willard Mitt Romney, in which he evangelizes American exceptionalism.
“I am guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: This century must be an American Century. In an American Century, America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world. God did not create this country to be a nation of followers.
I believe we are an exceptional country with a unique destiny and role in the world. America is not destined to be one of several equally balanced global powers. America must lead the world, or someone else will. If we do not have the strength or vision to lead, then other powers will take our place.
The world is dangerous, destructive, chaotic. Like a watchman in the night, we must remain at our post and keep guard of the freedom that defines and ennobles us, and our friends.
The United States will apply the full spectrum of hard and soft power to influence events before they erupt into conflict [i.e., preemptive military strikes and covert operations.]
As president of the United States, I will devote myself to an American Century. And I will never, ever apologize for America.
I pledge to you that if I become commander-in-chief, the United States of America will fulfill its duty, and its destiny.
It is only American power — conceived in the broadest terms — that can provide the foundation of an international system that ensures the security and prosperity of the United States and our friends and allies around the world.”
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.