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Soup of This Day #131: We’re On To Victory Someday

February 2, 2012

1860s White House
The White House, c1860s. With Facebook still a couple of years away, Lincoln had to rely on Twitter to get the Gettysberg Address out. For the record the Bliss version takes 11 Tweets – Photo: Unknown, c1860s. Image cropped by Longworth72.

This blog really tries to steer away from politics. Yeah, the word is derived from the Greek ‘of, for, or relating to citizens’ and this is a sports blog, writing about sports that are played by citizens, so that’s probably a bit head-in-the-sand of me. I guess though that the main thrust of my stance is to try not to browbeat everyone else with my political views.

For sure, if you read this blog regularly then you might have detected a leaning to the left and that’s a fairly accurate stab at which way I’m inclined. It’s not by any means a strict leftist view with a capital ‘L’ – I prefer to label it as the politics of compassion – For instance I believe in universal healthcare – In particular I like to see politicians paying attention to the under-funded problem of mental health care – Frankly the amount of support for the many afflicted by a mental illness in Australia is woeful and yep, rich people should pay more taxes to help address this. Yeah, they might have worked hard but mental illness does not respect how diligent you are in your endeavours and frankly it’s just depressing how little money we channel into fighting this epidemic.

See, I can go and say it’s ‘depressing’ because I have depression. It’s an allowable pun.

Rich folk – Pay more tax. Politicians – spend it on compassion.

I only said I’d ‘try’ not to browbeat…

It’s ok though if you disagree – This blog only has a dozen or so regular readers and you’re all smart folk so if you don’t like what I’ve just said you’ll have looked away by now and will hopefully check in some time down the line when I get back to straight sport.

Straight sport… hmmmm… Let gay people play sport too. Openly. Oh, and let them marry – They’re in love. I love my wife and I got to marry her so fair’s fair.

Tim Thomas, the keeper for the Boston Bruins who played a big part in their 2011 Stanley Cup triumph, has an opinion too. He aired it recently via an unusual protest and a unconventional medium. He also used bad grammar but that’s just being picky – Personally I find the rules governing the use of the Oxford Comma confusing and overbearing too.

Tim and the rest of the Bruins were invited to the White House to meet the President. Kind of a pat on the back from the nation’s head honcho. There’s some politics to that process – The President gets his photo taken with a bunch of sporting stars and that’s rarely a negative. The mitigation to this is that when you’re posing with a team that represents just 1 of many electorates you’re bound to piss off someone somewhere. Like Detroit maybe, or Chicago. And anyway this seems to be a tradition so the gesture has got bipartisanship writ large across it’s inoffensive face.

Sadly Tim isn’t a big fan of either side of politics so for him bipartisanship is actually partisanship. And Facebook is a reputable media outlet.

Yeah that’s right, Timmy, decided to boycott the White House visit and then explained why via a Facebook posting:

‘I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.

Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.

This is the only public statement I will be making on this topic. TT’


The problem TT is that you’ve gotten the concepts of freedom and equality all mixed up. Everybody should be free to decline to visit the White House. The thing is, almost nobody else gets an invite to the White House. You did, because you won the Stanley Cup.

For playing hockey.

There was no election. You didn’t have to win over the public with convincing arguments or to grind your way through a schedule of primaries that Herman Cain (He’s from the Right, right?) described as a sausage grinder. You on the other hand got to the White House by playing a sport in which you get to shout ‘GET THE PUCK OUT!’ while being taken seriously.

It is a tough sport to be fair and you did very well at it. You earn some credit for that. It’s just that it’s shop credit that should only be spent on talk about hockey. If you want some political cred then by all means get in the ring – Run for office. Heck, if you run on a platform of helping out those less fortunate than you I’ll help out – I can write slogans:

‘Tim Thomas: He gives a puck about mental health care.’

If you want to be taken seriously we might need to workshop that.

Even if you’re not interested in a career in politics I’d still like to offer some advice – Releasing your political views via Facebook does not get you taken seriously Tim. You have given up a freedom that most of your compatriots will never get and you have done so via the same forum that my friends use to announce that they are dating again.

Good for them. Not good for you Mr Thomas.

Now I don’t know about Barack Obama – I’m not American so I’m not required to know about him and nor am I qualified to comment on his success or failure as the President of the United States. The US is the world’s sole remaining superpower so there is an impact, even down here in Perth, but the biggest hit is on home soil. I will say this: It’s an admittedly low bar but I do like him better than George W, principally because ol’ W, when he invaded Iraq in search of WMDs, kinda brought Australia along for the war-ride. But even with my unhappiness at that, had I got an invite to meet either George W Bush or Barack Obama in the White House I’d still have shown up, if only so that I could take the chance to whisper briefly in their shell-like:

‘Mental health care needs more support everywhere Mr President. Please.’

We’re On To Victory Someday

  1. My only problem with TT’s reaction is he had to know every one of his teammates and all in the organization would be now asked about his decision first and foremost. This visit was about a TEAM and an ORGANIZATION celebrating a great achievement. There were many other options to using this moment as a platform for his disagreement and dissatisfaction without turning the attention away from everyone else and watering down the moment. I totally agree with his right to do what he did. I just wish he had expressed himself differently so as to not affect the Boston Bruins TEAM and ORGANIZATION.

    • Hadn’t approached it from the team angle to be honest but yeah, that’s valid for sure – I wonder how his teammates feel about his stand? Freedom has some rights attached but also some responsibilities – Tim seems to have missed the 2nd part of that. For all that, hope there’s no repercussions for him (enforced bench time) and that he can go back to drawing attention via his saves.

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