Ghana 2, United States 1: In Which I Destroy My Political Career

Go Black Stars!

…which I never had to begin with, so it’s really not that much of a loss to anyone.

At first, I was very disappointed with the outcome of the game, but thinking it through, I’m glad.  Although better off than most Africans nations, Ghana is a very poor country — more than a quarter of its people live on less than $1.25 a day, and it has lower human development indicators than Cambodia, among others.  It is the last African nation in the first African-hosted World Cup, and (like most nations around the world) absolutely stark raving mad about their Black Stars.  The United States is the wealthiest country in the world, where we can be and are distracted by just about anything.  This just means a whole lot more to a whole lot more Ghanaians than it does to the United States.

Go Black Stars!

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

8 thoughts on “Ghana 2, United States 1: In Which I Destroy My Political Career”

  1. Being utterly indifferent to sports, I'm utterly indifferent to who wins. (In fact, I find myself regretting that I've inadvertently learned the outcome, and will attempt to reclaim the brain cells wasted on remembering it as fast as possible.) This admission, of course, probably is as politically destructive as your remark.

  2. It's only fun to beat a team that wants to win, with fans who want that team to win. (Would the US care about soccer at all, if we didn't get a thrill from winning at a sport that *other people* care about so much more deeply?)

    So if you really want to make Ghanaians happy, you should pretend to be obsessed with hatred for their country and their team. Then they'll feel even better about having taken down the mighty Yanks.

  3. I've been supporting Ghana all along, even though they, by beating us Aussies in the last round, defeated our very-slim chances of any prospect of advancement.

    Ghana's the only African nation where incumbent parties have been peacefully replaced in democratic elections…TWICE. It's liberal, pluralistic, and cheerfully tolerant, even if it's not perfect. It's a better democracy than complacent, illiberal Botswana, or corrupt, decadent Senegal. It's a good country with a bright future and it deserves the Cup on more levels than just kicking more goals than you or we did.

  4. Jonathan's pity party for Ghana is typical of the paternalistic, covert racist attitude of the extreme left.

  5. @ Jonathan:

    I wouldn't worry too much about damaging any putative political career over having too much sympathy for Ghana. After all, this is soccer we're talking about, not a real sport, so most Americans will be at best, indifferent to your lack of jingoistic boosterism since 1) a plurality of Americans probably has no idea there is even a World Cup going on.

    2) most of the remainder have no interest in soccer

    3) even among US soccer fans, the expectations for our WC teams is low enough that anything short of an 0-0-3 washout in the Group Round is considered a "job well done" and cause for celebration (albeit mainly of the "wait 'til 2014" variety.

    Not to worry.

  6. I have to disagree with the claim that it means more to more Ghanans, simply based on the population differences; I'm confident, given the resurgence of professional soccer from 1994-2010, that the US result is just as significant to 8% of Americans (~24M) as it is to 100% of Ghanans (~24M)

  7. USA! USA! USA!!!!

    America, Eff YEAH!!! TEAM AMERICA

    Oh wait, is rolling stone around?

  8. Based upon my experience of them here in the UK, Ghanians are amongst the most successful of immigrant groups. Professionals, very education and busines oriented, very good people to deal with and work with.

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