Friday, February 10, 2006

Mr.Guillen does not go to Washington

Mayor Daley announced his disatisfaction at Ozzie Guillen, often controversial Chicago White Sox manager, skipping the customary White House visit afforded to champions in most major American professional sports.

Daley's point was that the honor of the office should be respected with a visit.

While Guillen himself did not respond, his son, Ozzie Jr. explained:

"My dad cares about two things, his baseball team and his family,'' Ozzie Jr. said. "He's not interested in pleasing other people. The White House had changed the date of this visit a couple of times. It was supposed to be right after SoxFest [at the end of January]. Mr. Daley probably doesn't know that.''

Is there any chance Ozzie Sr. will reconsider and interrupt his vacation with a quick stop in Washington?

"No way. Not at all," Ozzie Jr. said. "To Ozzie, his family is more important than getting attention for himself. You have to remember, Mr. Daley is a politician. My dad is not."

Now, personally, I might not agree with Ozzie's decision--I would probably use the opportunity to give Bush a piece of my mind--I deeply respect it. One of the decadent qualities of declining empires is a great respect for ritual than for substance. Let's face it--the visits that most teams make to the White House are not watershed moments for national policy. In fact, they are exactly what Daley suggests--an opportunity to recognize the inherent honor invested in the office of the President of the United States.

But does that really exist? Honor and respect come are not currency determined by our government. They are rewards to be earned from every individual. Ozzie Guillen is saying that kissing the President's feet is not so important that as he is jerked around by the president's schedulers, he feels the need to give up time with his family.

On a related note, the architect of Chicago's first championship baseball team in eighty-eight year, Ken Williams has been pretty quiet following his team's triumph.

But he was not so silent on the visit to the president:

Apparently not everyone has such an easy time separating politics from honorary visits.

In a recent radio interview, Sox general manager Ken Williams said he decided to make the Washington trip, but only after thinking long and hard about it because he differs with President Bush on the war in Iraq.

I wish he would have. Politics and morality are not things you just put in your pocket when the social conventions warrant it. Celebrities are Americans too. When they speak out politically from any end of the spectrum, they set a good example for the rest of the country. There is no magic moment when we are "ready" to participate in representative democracy. There's too much of us sitting on the sidelines as it is.

It's not a coincidence that Guillen and Williams are making waves on these issues. Ethnic outsiders are often the ones who possess the courage to question social conventions. Let's afford these men our respect.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ozzie should be going to Our White House for Our Country for Our Team regardless of His Politcal Veiws or His Family

11:23 PM  
Blogger xian said...

That's a fine opinion, but why do you think so?

This is something I'm really curious about--for what reason should he feel obligated? I see the "honor of the office" explanation a lot, but what does that really mean?

Please let me know, I'm really interested...

6:58 PM  

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