For a uniter, President Joe Biden has a remarkable knack for figuring out new and destructive ways to divide Americans. His latest attempt to further split us falls back on one of his favorite themes: Race. Because, you know, we really haven't been divided across racial lines nearly enough lately, have we?
Apparently, it wasn't enough for then-Vice President Biden to claim Mitt Romney would "have y'all back in chains" when campaigning before a largely African-American audience in 2012. It wasn't enough for candidate Biden to tell a black radio audience that if they voted for Donald Trump, they "ain't black."
No, those ham-handed and blatantly racist manipulations were just child's pay.
Now, with the bully pulpit of the United States presidency at his disposal, Biden has successfully used America's pastime to force Americans to take sides over racial politics.
When appearing on ESPN, Biden was asked about the new voting laws recently enacted in the state of Georgia, and he whole-heartedly endorsed the MLB Players' Union call for moving the All-Star Game from Atlanta.
"I think today's professional athletes are acting incredibly responsibly. I would strongly support them doing that," Biden told Sage Steele, "People look to them. They're leaders."
NEW: Joe Biden tells ESPN he would "strongly support" Major League Baseball moving the All Star Game out of Atlanta in response to the new voter suppression law enacted by Georgia lawmakers.— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) April 1, 2021
Biden called the law: "Jim Crow on steroids." pic.twitter.com/m55l2AdN7Y
In the appearance on "SportsCenter," Biden went on to repeat the now-debunked lie that the Georgia law is "Jim Crow on steroids."
Forget about the president throwing out the first pitch to initiate the baseball season; instead, Biden fired the first rhetorical shot in the latest cold civil war America is being forced to endure over divisive racial politics.
Major League Baseball, corporate cowards that they are, took the signal from Biden and almost immediately followed the Divider-in-Chief's marching orders. They announced that they would, in fact, pull the All-Star Game from Atlanta, thus harming thousands of black-owned businesses in Georgia who had looked forward to this summer's added income derived from the high-profile event.
MLB's statement on the unprecedented, partisan political maneuver specifically sites the president's words as part of their motivation.
The decision comes a little more than a week after the passage of S.B. 202, a Georgia law that President Joe Biden criticized earlier this week, saying that it will restrict voting access for residents of the state.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement that the decision to move the All-Star Game was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport” and was made after consultation with teams, former and current players, the MLB Players Association and The Players Alliance, among others.
Manfred goes on to repeat Biden's lies that the Georgia law (which ironically expands access to voting in the Peachtree State) is further justification for ripping the game from Atlanta.
"Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box," Manfred said. "In 2020, MLB became the first professional sports league to join the non-partisan Civic Alliance to help build a future in which everyone participates in shaping the United States. We proudly used our platform to encourage baseball fans and communities throughout our country to perform their civic duty and actively participate in the voting process. Fair access to voting continues to have our game's unwavering support."
If there is any doubt that Biden is responsible for dividing Americans along racial lines at a time when we were all looking forward to returning to the ballpark to put our differences aside and enjoy some semblance of normalcy, you need look no further than the duplicitous attempts at damage control from White House spokesperson Jen Psaki.
Under questioning from Peter Doocy, Jen Psaki refuses to admit that Biden's support for MLB moving the All-Star Game out of Atlanta was a way of the White House putting their thumbs on the scales.— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) April 5, 2021
She also refused to comment on the loss of $100M from Cobb County. Go figure. pic.twitter.com/4i1bW0gWOC
When asked by Fox News' Peter Doocy about MLB doing precisely what Biden said he supported in his ESPN appearance, Psaki repeated Biden's words and then gaslighted the entire nation by claiming that Biden's explicit support of the union's call for the boycott was not actually support for the players' call for a boycott... "Well, he supports them being able to make the decision and respond to what their players' asks are given many of them are impacted of course by these laws," she said.
When Joe Biden wanted your votes, he would often say, "The words of a president matter." He wasn't wrong. At the time, he'd sanctimoniously make this claim to beat up on Donald Trump's past statements (usually taken out of context) that many found objectionable. Fine, fair game. That's politics.
The words of a president matter. pic.twitter.com/ABrbg5xTkg— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 16, 2020
But Biden can't have it both ways. If Trump's words as president mattered, so too do Biden's words. And he unequivocally signaled his support for MLB making this move, which inevitably ends in the loss of economic opportunities for Georgians and uses baseball to force Americans to take sides in a divisive and polarizing, partisan political debate with emotional racial overtones.
Biden's "Jim Crow" language, fed by misinformation and outright lies, has fanned the flames of this debate and now has moved the battleground of the issue out of the Georgia statehouse and onto the field of professional athletics.
Are we a stronger and more united nation because of that? Is this the unified and harmonious America we were sold by Good Old Uncle Joe?
The fact is Biden has spent his entire career dividing our nation along these stark boundaries of his and his party's making, and he will continue to do so. It's all he and his fellow Democrats seem to know these days.
And as long as he and his party's enablers are rewarded for their cynical and destructive rhetoric, it will continue.
It's easy (and appropriate) to blame the players, MLB, the sponsors, Stacey Abrams, and on and on... but make no mistake. This is Joe Biden's baseball boycott. He signaled for it, he endorsed it and he owns it.
What are we to do?
You can start by choosing to attend a Minor League Baseball game... preferably a team not affiliated with an MLB franchise. Or, perhaps, a college baseball game. Even better, go rediscover the love of the game by patronizing your local Little League. And take the money you would have spent on tickets, parking, food, beer, and souvenirs and donate it all to the kids who still understand the game is about joy and love and competition and working together as a team.
Even better, those kids stand for the national anthem before the game, they don't have agents and they're thrilled to play for the rich reward of a snack bag handed out by alternating parents after every game. It's in their contract.
Larry O'Connor hosts a 2-hour radio program on KABC in Los Angeles and a separate, 3-hour radio program on WMAL in Washington DC. Both shows are heard daily, Monday through Friday and the podcasts can be found here.