Hotel Foxtrot Sierra, Batman! With all the uproar about the American bridge players lately, you’d think they’d gotten on stage, burned the flag and called Bush a lying coward. Take this from “Project 21”, a black leadership network, as reported in the Hawaii Reporter (emphasis mine):
“This team was supposed to be representing our nation and its people, but its members acted in a disrespectful manner by holding up an anti-Bush sign. It was crude partisan political theatre,” added Project 21’s Hicks. “As a neophyte in the then-burgeoning Black Power movement, I remember when several black members of the U.S. track team engaged in a ‘black power’ salute while on the victory stand at the 1964 Olympics in Mexico City. They were summarily hustled home. I think it was completely proper for the U.S. Olympic Committee to do what they did. There was a great deal of discrimination against blacks at that time, but those men should have understood they were representing all of America and not just black Americans. Similarly, these women today were representing our nation and not just Bush-hating leftists. It was stupid, immature and frankly anti-American behavior. I’m sure the Dixie Chicks were proud of these women. If there is no punishment for this current unsportsmanlike behavior, seditious, partisan and juvenile behavior will have been rewarded.” (Hawaii Reporter, 11/19/2007)
Excuse me? Anti-American? Okay, I’ll accept childish and immature, but anti-American it ain’t. What’s anti-American is for people like these who should know better to call it anti-American. I guess what disturbs some people, especially those on the extreme right, is that anyone would have the audacity to publicly admit that they didn’t vote for Bush. After all, free speech and independent thought aren’t encouraged in America today. Just ask Bill Maher.
The last few days have seen the most visitors to this blog since its creation. And to think that all I did was comment on the bridge brouhaha and the subsequent backlash.
Of course, when I noticed that my blog was one of three highlighted for special consideration by no less a luminary than conservative blogger, National Center for Public Policy Research leader, all became clear. Apparently a lot of people read it. God only knows why, since if you want mindless, right-wing bullshit you can get it from Rush Limgaugh, White House press releases, or from watching Faux Noise.
This is what Ms. Ridenour had to say:
What a wonderful country we might have if all the liberals who use their freedom of speech rights read the Constitution carefully and with intelligence once in a while. (Right, Amy, dream on.)
I guess all it takes to be labeled a “liberal” these days is to say something critical about the President.
Actually, I have read the Constitution, having spent the last 21 years of my life defending it as a member of the Armed Forces. I can still find nothing in it that would lead me to believe that the sanctions being leveled against the bridge players are at all justified. What strikes me as especially ridiculous about this is the severity of the punishments:
“Three team members later expressed regret for offending others with the sign, but Greenberg and three others who did not apologize now face sanctions from the United States Bridge Federation (USBF) — the organization that selects teams for international tournaments. A hearing to decide their fate will be held at the Fall North American Bridge Championship in San Francisco later this month. The four currently face a one-year suspension, a year of probation, 200 hours of community service, a required letter of apology and be required to give a full accounting about the reasons and actions for displaying the offending sign.” – Hawaii Reporter, 11/19/2007
Okay, I can understand demanding an apology, and an explanation for why they did it. It was childish, and probably wasn’t the right forum to air their political frustrations. But a year suspension, 200 hours of community service, and a year of probation? Be serious! Bush won’t even be in office for that much longer. This is political correctness at its worst.
Some have even accused them of “treason” and “sedition”.
Wow, strong stuff. I’ve compiled a short list of traitors from recent American history. Let’s see how the bridge babes compare, shall we?
- Jonathan Pollard – sold U.S. secrets to Israel; convicted of espionage, sentenced to life in prison without parole.
- Aldrich Ames – sold the identities of American secret agents to the KGB, got several people killed. Convicted of espionage, sentenced to life in prison without parole.
- The Rosenbergs – sold nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union, convicted of espionage and treason, executed.
- The bridge team – held up a sign saying they didn’t vote for Bush.
Wow. Our standards for traitors have really fallen. How is it “treason” to say you didn’t vote for the president? Last time I checked, in America you have the right not to vote for whomever you don’t want to vote for. We aren’t a dictatorship yet, despite the extreme right’s best efforts to the contrary.
Let me be perfectly clear about this.
I don’t give a rat’s ass about bridge.
I don’t play any card game more complicated than Texas Hold ‘Em. I played Magic: The Gathering a few years ago and it gave me migraines. What upsets me is the way these American citizens have been treated, by their team, their federation, and their country. The cowardly, baseless, scurrilous attacks on them and their patriotism are entirely unjustified and unwarranted. The punishments leveled against them are completely out of proportion to what they did.
And that’s what bugs me. I fear for the future of this country, if we begin to tolerate this sort of punishment for even the most minimal of political opposition. This is a slippery slope we cannot afford to go down.