Despite the heart-breaking loss in Game Seven of the World Series, I want to congratulate the Cleveland Indians for their superb play this season! Uh, oh, according to conventional wisdom I’m now a racist for writing that.
The 2016 World Series provided hope and good tidings for the long suffering, as Cleveland squared off against the Chicago Cubs, making a great story. The Indians have not won a World Series since 1948, and before this year the Cubs hadn’t even been in a World Series since 1945, last winning it in 1908.
Sports fans, even if they weren’t from Cleveland or Chicago, embraced this year’s World Series storyline, as ratings jumped dramatically over last year’s games. It sure was refreshing to watch a major sporting event where players stood for the national anthem and kept their politics to themselves.
So everyone is happy, right? Not quite, as the politically correct set, the modern day dour-faced trolls who aren’t happy unless they can make everyone else miserable, are at it again. This time a small handful of leftists and a small group of Native Americans, who as far as I know are as Native American as Elizabeth Warren, marched on Cleveland. The protesters Scrooged outside Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians before the start of the World Series, feigning outrage because the Cleveland baseball team goes by the name of Indians, which is now considered a racist term, and that they use Chief Wahoo as a symbol. Chief Wahoo needs no introduction to anyone who follows professional baseball, but if you are unfamiliar, Chief Wahoo is a cartoony like Indian that has been around since either 1932 or 1947 depending on whose history you believe.
The protesters who were small in number were still able to garner publicity and cow baseball commissioner Rob Manfred into saying this over the non-controversy, “I know that that particular logo is offensive to some people, and all of us at Major League Baseball understand why,” and “I’ve talked to Mr. Dolan (owner of the Cleveland Indians) about this issue. We’ve agreed away from the World Series at an appropriate time we will have a conversation about this.” It sounds to me like Indians ownership has been called into the principal’s office.
I could go on about how recent polls often show Native Americans would prefer sport teams keep Indian-inspired nicknames and all this is much ado about nothing, but what would be the point? It wouldn’t change a thing as the protesters are in it for political theater, and to them the political theater trumps everything, including the wellbeing of Native Americans, which ironically is what they are supposedly protesting for.
It is no secret that the standard of living for Native Americans is abysmal. Check most statistical measures by demographic groups, from health care, safe housing, crime, poverty, child abuse, education, substance abuse, unemployment and life expectancy and you’ll discover Native Americans either at the bottom or near the bottom of the scrap heap. None of this, of course, is the fault of the Cleveland Indians baseball team or the fictional Chief Wahoo.
The reasons for the malaise vary, but unmistakably part of this is caused by the Indian reservations system. Approximately 22% of the 5.2 million Native Americans still live on Indian reservations, which often resemble the third world in living conditions. Indian reservations, for the most part, are communally held property. As such they are the antithesis of a free enterprise zone and illustrate what is wrong with collectivism. Manny Jules, part of Kamloops Indians in Canada known for fighting for property rights for Indians, points out the obvious. “Markets haven’t been allowed to operate in reserve lands,” says Jules. “We’ve been legislated out of the economy. When you don’t have individual property rights, you can’t build, you can’t be bonded, you can’t pass on wealth. A lot of small businesses never get started because people can’t leverage property [to raise funds].”
If you don’t think property rights matter much, take a look at the Crow reservation in Montana. Over one third of the Crow reservation, 2+ million acres, is individually owned, and studies have shown this stretch of land is 30-90% more productive than the collectively held land on this reservation even though the land is of the same quality.
If the protesters really cared about the wellbeing of Native Americans, they would stop protesting at Progressive Field and march on Washington, D.C. demanding that freedom ring, and for Native Americans to have the same individual property rights enjoyed by their fellow Americans.
Somehow I don’t see that happening.