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Blubaugh: United, briefly, then divided again

Two events obscured all others over the past week, Tiger Woods’ win at the Masters bringing people together and the release of the Mueller Report illustrating our great divide.

Starting with the release of the much-anticipated Mueller Report, guess what? The way people reacted had everything to do with how they felt about President Trump before reading word one.

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Most Trump supporters never made it to word one. The “total exoneration” declaration from the Tweeter-In-Chief was all they needed. Of course, once Trump himself started reading the report — or having parts of it read to him — his tone changed, using language that could generously be termed unpresidential and calling the report “crazy,” written by “18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters” and “fabricated & totally untrue.”

Fabricated and totally untrue except, of course, for the part that said he didn’t collude with the Russians to fix the 2016 election. That crazy Mueller and the Trump Haters must’ve gotten that part right.

Meanwhile, Trump’s detractors became more enraged with each line. Among many other revelations, the report notes that Trump tried to get rid of Mueller during the investigation but the president’s minions wouldn’t, that he instructed his people to lie at various times and his press secretary told outright lies to discredit news reports, and that despite his claim of “no obstruction” the actual wording of the report regarding his conduct in office is that it “presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.” They can’t believe charges aren’t forthcoming.

All completely predictable.

No matter what Trump says or does or what good things may have happened in the country over the past two years or in the next two, his detractors will never give him credit. He is that abhorrent to them.

On the other hand, among the thousands of misleading or untrue statements by Trump, his most dead-on assertion has been, “I could stand In the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters.”

Viewed in terms everyone understands, wins and losses, the Mueller Report goes in the “W” column for Trump and his supporters.

The Democrats were counting on being able to use collusion and/or obstruction to get him out of office in 2020. Or sooner. Now, not only do they not have that, they have bolstered the beliefs of Trump and his supporters. Regardless of how damning much of the Mueller Report may be, they can say, “See, we told you so, no collusion, no obstruction — all a fabrication by the Trump-hating Democrats in office and Hollywood and their co-conspirators, the fake news media.”

And the fighting continues, in person, on social media, on television, in letters to the editor. Easter dinner should be … interesting.

We are one divided nation. That’s why it was nice to see so many united behind Tiger Woods.

Left or Right, black or white, young or old, who doesn’t love a story of redemption? The story of a flawed man who paid a steep price for those flaws and came out the better for it, overcoming a back ailment so serious it doesn’t just end athletic careers but the everyday way of life for many.

Woods was the most beloved athlete in America before he underwent an unprecedented fall because of his marital indiscretions. Looking back, can you imagine an athlete from any other sport being treated as Woods was for cheating on his wife? He spent every day for three straight weeks as the New York Post cover story, months as the butt of every late-night host’s jokes. He lost respect, many of his fans, his family and untold millions in endorsement dollars.

It was of his own doing, but illustrative of how we love to build up heroes and then tear them down. But then we also love the comeback — and this was one for the ages.

Woods was not the same player after his fall from grace, but he still managed three wins in 2012 and five in 2013. After that, however, came devastating back problems necessitating several surgeries, that allowed him to play — not very well — in only 19 tournaments over four years.

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He seemed done. Two years ago he conceded he wasn’t sure he had any future in golf. And then, hooked on painkillers, he was arrested for driving under the influence, a humiliating video going viral. Rock bottom.

But, stunningly, after a successful spinal fusion and hard work to get his body and game back in shape, he returned to the PGA Tour last season. He got more and more competitive to the delight of fans thrilled to have him back — and with an appreciation of said fans he had never shown before — capping it with a win at the Tour Championship. Could he win a major in 2019?

Yes he could. Twenty-two years after overpowering Augusta National with physical brilliance the game had never seen, he beat younger, physically superior players on Sunday with his mental game, making the smart play in every situation while his opponents took turns failing to do so. He won his fifth green jacket and completed one of the most unlikely and inspiring comebacks in sports history.

Watching his emotional celebration — shouting with glee, slapping hands with fans, hugging his son and his mother — untold numbers of eyes watching at the course and in front of screens became moist. It was incredible, the rare event in 2019 that pretty much everyone could be happy about.

Pretty much everyone. Those who hold Woods’ friendship with Trump against him were not pleased.

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