I had another column within minutes of being finished, when a sports story pinged on my radar screen and had me furious, but not for the reasons one might expect.

Yesterday was a cool Sunday afternoon in Kansas City.  Temps in the 50’s, clear skies and a perfect day for NFL football at Arrowhead Stadium where the Kansas City Chiefs hosted the Baltimore Ravens.  I’ve enjoyed a game or two at Arrowhead myself and it’s always a rocking time.  As usual, I had the game on in the other room where it amounted to white noise.  I pay little attention.  The Chiefs lost to Baltimore 9-6 and it would be hours before I realized there was a kerfuffle I hadn’t heard.  At some point during the game, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel was injured.  Chief’s fans are loyal to the team but hard on players they feel do nothing to get them closer to a decades long awaited championship and Cassel is not a hometown favorite for that reason.  Just now, my iPad pinged a breaking story from sportswriter Eric Adelson that Kansas City fans ‘crossed the line’ by cheering when Matt Cassel was injured.  Now, I don’t think that’s a very nice reaction to anyone getting hurt, but really, “BREAKING NEWS“?

I seem to recall some months back in the never-ending GOP debates similar behavior on the part of some Americans when it came to the pain of others and that behavior was considered perfectly acceptable to the mainstream.  A soldier, bravely serving our country in Iraq was booed for admitting he was gay.

Rick Perry was cheered for killing more prisoners on Death Row in his state, though science has proven at least one of those men was innocent.

A Tea Party crowd cheered at the prospect of an uninsured American dying from lack of health insurance.

And Newt Gingrich championed poor children scrubbing toilets for the privilege of getting an education.

So, let me get this straight: it’s perfectly alright to cheer the pain and suffering of the poor, the disenfranchised and the uninsured because they’re somehow beneath you, but people attending a sporting event, where very large men get paid huge sums of money to beat the living shit out of one another on a weekly basis, cheering the injury of one of these overpaid sports heroes is “over the line”?

America, when a man wearing a camouflage helmet is booed while in the service of our nation simply for whom he chooses to love but a man wearing an NFL insignia on his helmet is granted undue hero worship, we are a nation of warped priorities.  We’ll support the troops, but only the straight ones.  We support business, but only if they exploit child labor.  We laud the free market, but only if it leaves a good many Americans at the side of the road because they weren’t lucky enough to be born rich or white.

I keep repeating the same question:  Where did our humanity for our fellow Americans go?

We are a month away from Election Day and this whole incident has reminded me, more than ever, why it’s critical we get to the ballot box and cast a vote for including every American in the process, including every American in opportunity, considering every American an equally important part of the ecosystem that is the American experience.  What never surprises me is when someone in this country does fall down, the guy helping them up is someone who knows how it feels to fall down.  That person is never concerned with the color of your skin or your gender or who you love or what God you believe in, if you believe in one at all.  That guy doesn’t care if you belong to the 47% or the 99% or the 1%, because all that person is concerned with is the idea that you are another human being, hurtling through space on the same rock.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…

Our collective humanity depends upon us getting this one right.

Oh, and Chiefs fans?  Shame on you too.

Carol Baker is a free-lance political writer and sometimes satirist.  She is a regular contributor to Here Women Talk.

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