Joe Drape seems to be on some sort of radio tour, talking about his piece in the New York Times. Yesterday he entered the friendly (to him) confines of the NPR studio to chat. My reaction to that was "bleh", he is speaking to an audience that likely isn't with racing in the first place. A non-starter.
There's a whole lot of chatter currently in our sport, with those trying to convince people that things really are not that bad. The problem as I see it, is that we're wasting time with public relations, trying to convince people who are not convincable.
When I was a kid I went to University, and this school had a huge share of uber-lefties. Not regular left-of-center people who may vote a certain way, but really militant folks. I remember the first or second week I was there, the teaching assistants were on strike for more money, and this group of sympathizers was really upset. They picketed with them, brought them coffee, and did whatever they could to help. I worked at a mine throughout high school for $9 an hour to pay for school, and thought the $25/hr they were getting was pretty good, especially since it was a job that had line-ups through the quad to land. I didn't say so of course.
There were four or five such strikes during the year, and they worked for them all. After the people they were supporting got raises, tuition at the end of the year went up (because, of course, someone has to pay for higher wages). Then they started protesting the government because tuition went up. I wasn't in tune with these folks. They just didn't make much sense to me.
I had attended the track one afternoon and went to a party that night, off campus. I was chatting with a couple of friends and mentioned that I had missed an exotic, or that a trainer was winning with everything. Small talk. I was overheard by one of the really mean lefty women. And she had already consumed a few beers, or bongs, or whatever she was having.
She asked a couple of questions about where I was, then got about two inches from my face and said "You realize you are a part of a blood sport, don't you?"
Within a half minute I was surrounded by a swarm of crazy lefties. A couple of the guys were harmless - I think they were pretend militants, trying to sleep with some of the girls - but these folks were pretty mad.
If you go to a Tea Party thing and try to place a rational thought about a social issue, you likely won't get anywhere. Well, with folks like this you won't either.
So, I made up a pile of stuff about horse racing.
I told them that manure from horses was used to grow grass and prevent urban sprawl. That grooms and the people that worked with the horses got paid huge money. That they had a union. That horses had the government looking over them each day. Total BS.
It didn't work, but a couple of my friends had a laugh.
To this day they probably remember the dude at a party that was "in that bloodsport". They probably listened to NPR yesterday and said "I told you racing was that bad!"
It's why I wonder why we even bother with PETA. PETA, in their platform, has a plank that animals should have the same rights people do. That's nonsensical. In 10,000 years if you encroach on a beaver dam on your property, you won't be in court being sued by a beaver. Judges, for as long as the Earth is still spinning, will never utter the words: "Will the plaintiff please paddle". It's crazy.
So why do we even engage them? It's a waste of time. They'll never be convinced.
Racing, I guess, has to worry about Joe Drape, or whomever. But time is much better spent doing something to move us forward: Take what Drape says that is correct, and do something about it. If so, maybe someday, somewhere, at a party at a left wing University, a kid who loves horses and all animals won't be getting called a fan of a "blood sport" for going to the racetrack.
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