New kid in town

Politicians should play more basketball

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Jimmy Kimmel and Ted Cruz just might be on to something.

The liberal ABC late-night talk-show host and the conservative U.S. Senator from Texas have decided to settle their differences this weekend on the basketball court. The two will play a one-on-one game, with the loser donating $5,000 to the non-political charity of the winner’s choice.

After seeing the national media cycle dominated with acrimony and venom for the last few years — and especially the last few weeks — seeing two rivals settle their differences with a charity one-on-one game is a breath of fresh air to me.

Three weeks ago, ABC canceled “Roseanne” after series lead Roseanne Barr referred to former Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett in a tweet as “Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes had a baby,” drawing charges of racism.

The following week, TBS talk-show host Samantha Bee ignited more controversy when she called Ivanka Trump a vulgarity that is widely considered to be the vilest insult that can be directed at a woman.

Regardless of one’s political views, I seriously doubt that I am the only one who wearies of such verbal venom.

When President Donald Trump used an obscenity to describe third-world countries in a discussion on immigration, I was not impressed — nor was I impressed when he used a nearly identical obscenity to describe how he would bomb ISIS. And those are far from the only incidents when the president has used language that would get many children a bar of soap in their mouths.

However, using what the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) calls “strong language” is not limited to President Trump.

The night that Trump was elected president in 2016, comedienne Jena Friedman made an appearance on “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” and admonished female viewers to “get your abortions now” before adding an R-rated vulgarity on to her statement.

Shortly before Trump’s inauguration, one of my high school classmates went on Facebook and used that same vulgarity to condemn not only Trump, but the entire Republican Party and every single person who voted for Trump.

Needless to say, it has gotten very old to my ears.

When she apologized about the Ivanka Trump incident on her show last week, Bee said, “Civility is just nice words. Maybe we should all worry a little bit more about the niceness of our actions.”

I have to disagree to some extent. First of all, words are actions, whether we like it or not — and many times words can do more damage than Mike Tyson’s fists.

Along those lines, Bee’s insult of Ivanka Trump overshadowed everything else she said that evening on her show. Whether or not it should have is debatable. But when a person uses an insult that could pick a fistfight out of my mother (if it was directed at her), it is hard for it not to overshadow everything else.

I’m not sure how much skill Kimmel and Sen. Cruz have on the hardwood — but compared to the recent acrimony in American politics, it sounds like music to my ears. I wonder if I can still get a couple of courtside tickets?

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