This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for the Internet and the opportunity it affords for free expression. Granted, filth is just a click away, but the opportunity to exercise free will in ways that bring harm has been present since the Garden of Eden. Time will tell whether the Internet’s positive contributions will outweigh its negative ones, but I’m betting that it will. The omniscient Creator obviously knew there were problems ahead when He made us in His own image with the ability to make free, independent choices. But God in His infinite wisdom determined that freedom was an enterprise worth the evil it would make possible. So I’m going with God on the value of freedom.
I’m no authority on sports and I don’t know what it takes to put together a winning team. But apparently billionaire Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins for the last 10 years, doesn’t either. Despite all the millions he’s spent, the Redskins are a losing team. What particularly interests me — since the games are a lost cause — is the impact that television and the instant replay have on the game.
Many fans miss a lot of the action in real time; we depend on the instant replay in slow motion to see what really happened. What amazes me is hearing the commentators say even as the play is unfolding who is running with the ball, who made the tackle, who caught the pass, or who got slapped with a penalty. Then comes the instant replay, and in a high percentage of the cases, the play-by-play announcers with their years of experience and trained eyes saw what I was not able to see as a sometime fan.
John Madden, the ex-coach who turned commentator (until his recent retirement), took things a step further by superimposing a diagram of the play on the instant replay and thereby further educated millions of fans in the tactics being employed by the offensive and defensive coaches. The trouble is, the more educated the fans became, the less tolerant they were of bad game-changing calls by officials. It took awhile, but the pressure eventually became irresistible for a system whereby coaches could challenge an official’s call, forcing them to consult the instant replay and evaluate what the camera had already revealed to the fans.
It seems to me that we are already beginning to see the Internet do for politics and government something akin to what the instant replay has done for the officiating of pro-football. And in the arenas of politics and government, the need is so much greater and the stakes are so much higher.
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