Thursday, November 15, 2007

This Is Fucking Shameful

Anti-Bush Sign Has Bridge World in an Uproar
Published: November 14, 2007
In the genteel world of bridge, disputes are usually handled quietly and rarely involve issues of national policy. But in a fight reminiscent of the brouhaha over an anti-Bush statement by Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks in 2003, a team of women who represented the United States at the world bridge championships in Shanghai last month is facing sanctions, including a yearlong ban from competition, for a spur-of-the-moment protest.

At issue is a crudely lettered sign, scribbled on the back of a menu, that was held up at an awards dinner and read, “We did not vote for Bush.”

By e-mail, angry bridge players have accused the women of “treason” and “sedition.”

“This isn’t a free-speech issue,” said Jan Martel, president of the United States Bridge Federation, the nonprofit group that selects teams for international tournaments. “There isn’t any question that private organizations can control the speech of people who represent them.”


I sent the following e-mail to Ms Martel (janmartel@comcast.net):
Madam:
If they were known at the event to be an "American team," it was not a 'non-political' event. Therefore the protesting participants were engaged in protected speech. Silence preserves the status quo. Preserving the status quo is a political position. Doing nothing is always doing something. You are doing nothing other than controlling the content of speech. You should be ashamed.

If you cannot, in fact, champion their sentiments, you should at least refrain from using the power of your office (you guys are the AMA of the trick-taking set) to rebuke them for it. Theirs is a perhaps more genteel expression of dissent, but it is exactly the equivalent of Tommy Smith's and Juan Carlos' clenched-fist salute on the medal stand at the Mexico City Olympics. These women are heroes. They deserve your respect and you owe them an apology. It is NOT the other way around.
(Signed)
Yrs Tly

3 comments:

Alexandra said...

Good Work, Helluvafellow!

Woody, Tokin Lib'rul/Rogue Scholar & O'erall Helluvafella said...

thanks, alexandra

Brett said...

Heroes?? Though i admit my points of reference are shaky, I am rather confident in claiming that a group of Bitter ladies, without cause or reason, who curiously decide to publicly identify themselves as bush-detractors...in a context of broad anti-bush sentiment...certainly can not be claimed "heroes". Ignoring for a moment their transparent attempts to ingratiate themselves to the other teams by bad-mouthing their leader,there is little that seems couragous in speaking out when everyone agrees. Further, considering their underlying motives were selfish in nature, how could one make the idiotic assertion that posting popular views in a unsolicited and meaningless context is worthy of the term "heroism". In addition, the right to free speech does not extend to the private realm merely because you make that claim. (which, as a lawyer, i don't follow) I could give two sticks whether these card playing women made political comments overseas. I just find myself infuriated by your claim that making anti-bush statements to knowingly anti-bush audiences should afford those who made the claim any special designation at all. Beyond kowtowing, its hard to see how not voting for a candidate and telling the world the same can be construed as brave. Hyperbole is the last refuge of agenda and closed minds...you need new heroes..get a comic book