Thursday, April 12, 2012

If Ozzie Guillen gets kicked out of the Marlins, somebody had better get on Tim Tebow’s case

I know, I know, I’m mixing apples and oranges here. Or baseball and football. Not to mention, as you'll see shortly,  God and Fidel Castro. But bear with me for a few paragraphs. This is important stuff.
In Florida, it appears as if the entire state is having a meltdown because Ozzie Guillin, the Miami Marlins manager, made a statement favorable to Fidel Castro.
Guillin has been suspended for five days. He was forced to apologize for having had a political opinion. (Whether he’s right or wrong is immaterial to this discussion.)  A member of the Miami Dade Board of County Commissioners says Guillin’s suspension is not punishment enough, because is “doesn’t really address the magnitude of his statements.”
Huh? What magnitude? Guillin said he loved and admired Fidel Castro for hanging on all these years. That seems to be about it. His statement contained no obscenity, no profanity, no attack on any individual, no attack on, or criticism of, the United States. It was simply an opinion, although admittedly one with implicit political overtones. You can buy into it or reject it, but the last time I heard, we still had freedom of speech in this country.
Yeah yeah, I know a Marine sergeant named Gary Stein is facing dismissal and loss of his pension for criticizing President Obama on Stein’s Facebook page by implying the president is a jackass. I strongly disagree with Stein. However, I think he has a right to express his opinion, too. Or even if he doesn’t because it’s “prejudicial to military discipline” whatever that means, he’s in the armed forces, subject to military discipline, and his case may be a somewhat different kettle of fish than civilian self-expression.
But in civilian life, if anybody can be fired for having a political opinion, nobody’s safe. Not you. Not I. And while we’re at it, not Tim Tebow.
Where the hell – if Giullin can’t praise Fidel Castro – where the hell does Tebow come off making overt displays of fervor that favor one religion on the football field? Reports the Washington Post, “When asked what needed to change in America, he [Tebow] said ‘first and foremost … what this country was based on: one nation under God. The more that we can get back to that,’ he continued, to applause.”
For Mr. Tebow’s information, that “one nation under God” line came along in 1955, under the Eisenhower administration. I know 1955 was a long time ago before you were born, Tim, but you might be interested in learning that Eisenhower was not a founding father. The American Revolution dates to 1776, a century and then some before the Pledge  was written. 
As a matter of fact, Tim, God is not mentioned in the United States Constitution, for good reason. Jefferson and the signers were skirting establishment of religion. The closest you can come to a mention of God in the story of America’s founding is the line in the Declaration of Independence that talks about all men being “endowed by their creator.” The term “creator” had to be used because lots of the founding fathers were pretty darn skeptical as to whether that creator was God in the traditional sense. They did all agree that there was an original “source” of all life. They never declared it to be God because so many of them were deists, not Christians. So they called that force a “creator.”
You can take that or leave that. All I’m saying is, if Tim Tebow can start making speeches and put on public displays of religion, as well as ignorant political  statements to the effect that what this country needs to “get back” to is a national belief in God, then Guillin is entitled to state his opinions about Fidel Castro.
I don’t care which of the athletes is right, or wrong, or whether both of them are right, or wrong. All I’m saying is, people should be allowed to peacefully say what they think without the state of Florida and a bunch of Cuban immigrants coming down on them like a lynch mob.

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