You would think a team named “Dodgers” would know how to dodge a culture war battle they can’t win (see: Target, Bud Light), but no, the Los Angeles Dodgers managed to get picked off in the most embarrassing fashion in a pickle-style rundown entirely of their own ineptitude. Surely the conservative (and Catholic) O’Malley family that used to own the Dodgers—before the onerous estate tax forced the family to sell the team back in the 1990s after Peter Walter O’Malley died—are rolling in their graves.
But there’s a larger lesson here. Back in 1984 I attended the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco as a credentialed reporter (you can read the long feature Ken Masugi and I filed, “Revenge of the Nerds,” here). The day before the convention opened, there was a large gay pride parade on Market Street, which I watched from the sidewalk for the show. It was what you would have expected—a flamboyant and festive display of gay fetishes and skimpy costumes made mostly of leather, along with lots of banners expressing grievances against the Reagan Administration for not instantly curing AIDS with more money.
I somehow got to chatting on the sidewalk with a Republican campaign operative who was observing the convention, and he remarked, “In 1972 we paid people to do this to McGovern, and now the Democrats are doing it for us for free.” Sure enough, Democrats running the convention were careful to keep this sideshow out of sight as much as possible. They knew political poison when they saw it, though Jeanne Kirkpatrick nonetheless later stuck them with the label “San Francisco Democrats.” Though she had foreign policy chiefly in mind, there was a distinct undercurrent of their victim mentality that defines the party’s dominant ideology today.
The San Francisco Democrats of 1984 tried to keep the gay pride parade and related aspects of San Francisco culture under wraps in part because the centerpiece of the parade was the same Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence now indulging the Dodgers’ ineptitude, led at that time by Sister Boom-Boom. (Ms. Boom-Boom later entered a sobriety program and died in 2012.)
Today, as we know, the Dodgers are honoring the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence who, if they were the Sisters of Gala-Allah or something (especially if they depicted The Prophet himself), would be designated as a hate group by the SPLC, but for the secular left, anti-Christian bigotry is not only allowed, but encouraged.
Or think of it this way: today’s Democratic Party celebrates the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and persecutes in court the Little Sisters of the Poor, an actual group of faithful nuns. The “San Francisco Democrats” have gone from an epithet to the core identity of the party today.
Footnote: one of the big platform fights at the Democratic convention in 1984 was how to treat racial quotas. The draft platform going in had language explicitly rejecting quotas, but this angered Jesse Jackson, who had won several primaries and was a significant force at the convention. Jackson demanded that the term “quotas” be explicitly used. But Walter Mondale’s people knew this term would be poison with the electorate, and managed to buy off Jackson with the more vague term “goals and timetables” instead—”goals and timetables” being a thinly-disguised euphemism for quotas. Jesse Jackson won that round.
I predict that next year’s Democratic Party platform (if they have one at all) will see a similar fight over two issues: an embrace of unlimited transgenderism and “gender-affirming health care” for children, and reparations for slavery. I doubt Democrats can dodge these self-generated impulses of their most vocal base any better than the LA Dodgers have.
P.S. Last word on the LA Dodgers: Perhaps this is just a return to their error-prone ways of the 1980s. One year when they were last in the league in defensive fielding, a popular joke around town went, “What do the Dodgers and Michael Jackson have in common? They both wear a glove on one hand for no apparent reason.”