I see so much negativity. Think about this: two years ago, we couldn't go anywhere, we didn't have a vaccine, and our friends were sick or dying. Cardboard cutouts were in the seats at ball games. Look at us now! Every stadium is packed. 100,000 fans packed into Bristol Motor Speedway! If you had told me in 2020 that in two years, we could get out and have fun again...BUT, gas would be a dollar a gallon higher, I would have taken that deal. 

I posted the preceding paragraph on Twitter and Facebook a few days ago, and wouldn’t you know it? One of the first responses was negative. One woman wrote, “AS IF gas was ONLY a dollar a gallon higher!!!”

Okay, my math might be off a bit, but that’s not really the point. Many people are so blinded by their political hatred, they cannot dodge a pothole without blaming it on “Biden,” or “Trump,” or whoever.

When it was announced that the Atlanta Braves would visit the White House to be honored by President Biden for their 2021 World Series championship, the news was greeted quite predictably, by people who wanted to make it political.

Never mind that the tradition of inviting athletic teams to the White House goes back to 1865, when President Andrew Johnson invited a couple of amateur baseball squads. Four years later, the Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first professional team to make the trip, invited by President Ulysses Grant.

In 1925, President Calvin Coolidge invited the world champion Washington Senators to stop by. In the hundred years since, pro and college football and basketball teams, and pro hockey teams have also gotten the White House treatment. During most of that time, it didn’t matter which party held the presidency. It was an HONOR to be invited to the nation’s house, and teams gladly accepted that invitation.

On occasion, a player has declined the invitation for political (or publicity) reasons, but the visits are usually dominated by smiles and cheerful photo ops.

But this is 2022, so it took about ten seconds for some online critics (and even a few journalists) to start taking political potshots about the Braves late September visit. President Biden’s critics said he would forget to show up, or call them the Milwaukee Braves, and congratulate them for winning the Super Bowl. This prompted critics of former President Trump to remind everyone that Trump was notorious for serving honored guests cold “hamberders” as he once tweeted. “At least Biden will give the Braves a hot meal,” they said. 

This is just another example of the angry divide that permeates our world. Thankfully, in President Coolidge’s day, Fox and MSNBC weren’t providing the background noise in people’s homes, spewing the angry rhetoric that boosts their ratings and revenue.

I refer again to my first paragraph. As I attended two sold-out sporting events in recent weekends, you could not wipe the smile off my face. Remembering the miserable year of 2020, how could anyone look around today, and not be happy and thankful?

Two years ago, we couldn’t see anyone’s face, we couldn’t shake their hand, we couldn’t hug them, and we couldn’t socialize, worship, or attend concerts or games with them.

Yes, as the Bad Mood Brigade often reminds me, gasoline was priced incredibly low. I was among many who lamented the fact that the price at the pump was under two dollars, yet there was nowhere to go. Restaurants were closed, along with just about any event that might provide joy or fellowship. 

Many of us lost loved ones, and did not get to tell them goodbye, due to tight restrictions at hospitals and nursing homes. We were even afraid to visit grieving families, if funerals or visitations were held at all.

Teachers, students, and parents were miserable due to schools either being closed, locked down, or conducted virtually.

The list goes on and on. In almost every case, we are now back to normal, and hopefully for good.

It’s still a free country. You can be angry if you like. Not me. I am cheering for the Braves at the White House, and I am thankful beyond measure. 

(David Carroll is a Chattanooga news anchor, and his new book “Hello Chattanooga” is available on his website, ChattanoogaRadioTV.com. You may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405, or at RadioTV2020@yahoo.com).

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