Congress should address relevant issues

Over the years the legislative branch of the United States has handled many issues that helped shape this country, and in turn sometimes the entire world. This past week was not one of those shining moments for our elected representatives.

All week, George Mitchell, the once senator, now steroid sleuth for baseball, presented his findings of steroid use in Major League Baseball to a U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Bud Selig also faced a stern grilling from the Congress members for allowing steroid use to happen.

My question is this: Of all the tax dollars collected over the years, is this really the best way to spend them? We still have a plethora of issues that carry more weight and affect more citizens than a game of baseball.

I love baseball and even played it for years. I hate to see its reputation marred by steroids, but is it really something the U.S. government should be controlling?

I think it is completely ridiculous that the government has a hand in this. Poverty still afflicts thousands of Americans every day, and the best our elected officials can do is make sure people play a game by the rules.

We still have a war in Iraq, climate change, and our crumbling economy, yet making sure Clemens isn’t throwing a fastball harder than he should is our top priority?

Show me an amendment, a clause, anything in the Constitution that states “Congress shall have the power to regulate a kids’ game being played by men” and I will concede my argument. As expected, some lawyer or lobbyist or desperate political party will find some loophole that explains why Congress gets to or needs do this.

No wonder faith in our elected officials is falling and the world views this country as arrogant. No wonder the global perspective of the United States is deteriorating when we put sports above global issues which could benefit exponentially with our help.

This all started in 2005, when in his State of the Union address President Bush focused mainly on steroids in baseball and cleaning up the game to protect the prestige of America’s past time. Then Selig was forced to go before Congress, and received a lashing for letting this happen to the sport prompting Mitchell’s investigation.

Maybe what Bush should have concentrated on was exploring the uses of alternative fuels or making sure children are leaving high school with the proper education or any of the other more important topics I mentioned earlier. Just a little prioritization would have been nice and not such a silly distraction from real concerns.

What harm befalls any citizen if someone uses steroids to gain an advantage?

Little Johnny will have to change role models is about all. I realize steroid use can cause serious health problems including depression, suicide, and the occasional appearance of hermaphroditism, but steroid-use awareness programs, not the time of Congress members, are needed to curb the use. Let Major League Baseball handle their own issues, or the nanny-state in Washington will be regulating badminton and tiddlywinks before long.

Steroids should be as much of Washington’s concern as their deciding what color clothes we wear, and the sooner they figure that out, then the quicker we can move forward with solving some real problems and issues.

I have great faith in our government…sometimes. However, I believe this is a situation that can be remedied without government intervention. If steroids were causing players to foam at the mouth and rabidly attack umpires and fans, then the sport might need some government oversight.

Of course the more media outlets portray this is as normal and acceptable, the more it makes the public think it is acceptable. It’s not acceptable to me. Every minute that is wasted on this topic, another goes without needed attention.

I hope this past week has shown us how shallow we can be and what we should really be focused on. Baseball directly affects only hundreds of people where these other issues affect possibly millions. So with that comparison, the choice of importance is a no-brainer.