By now you've heard about the US bridge team in hot water for pulling a Dixie Chicks move in Shanghai. They were so tired of bridge players from other countries asking how in God's name Americans could vote for George Bush twice that they decided to go public with this hastily scribbled sign.
The association that organizes this international bridge team, its knickers in a serious twist, has threatened these players with suspension, fines and day old cheese and Triscuits.
I think everyone who didn't vote for Bush should be given medals for prescience, but even I think this impromptu display was stupid. But if stupid was a punishable offense I can think of thousands of people who should be dunned before these card-slinging ladies.
I don't even have to watch Fox News to hear the umbrage. Yes, they dissed the prez on foreign soil. My God, how will the Republic stand? How will this card game ever recover its once vaunted position in American sporting life!
Think of the children!
So, OK, the US Association of Tight-Assed Bridge Honchos are within their right to suspend these women. I won't argue that. Just as Clear Channel is within its right to ban Dixie Chicks and Springsteen songs from their airwaves (except that they're really our airwaves, but let's not get into that right now). And those newspapers were within their right to fire those two columnists who had the affrontery to question Bush's skedaddle on 9/11. And that lawyer was within his right to fire an employee for having a John Kerry sticker on her car.
Yes, they are all within their rights.
But just because it's legal to be a flaming ass doesn't mean it's right to be a flaming ass.
What has happened to this country? Is the president so fragile that he needs corporations, newspapers, and bridge associations to protect him from seeing something that's not complimentary? Are the few remaining Bush supporters so insecure that they have to crush any form of dissent, no matter how fleeting and stupid?
I remember when columnists, pundits, sports figures, comedians, singers and strangers on the street said horrible things about Clinton, and this was before the blow job, and I don't remember anyone getting fired or banned from the airwaves because of it. I never heard of a single person getting fired for sporting those "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Bush" bumper stickers in the 90's.
So, why do people on Team Bush feel so threatened? Are their beliefs so shaky that a hand-scribbled note by a bridge player throws them into paroxysms of outrage? All it said was "We did not vote for Bush."
Oh no! How will we ever prevail in the War on Terror if our enemies are continually encouraged by a bridge team's voting patterns.
No, it's not censorship.
But it is petty.
I don't like it any more when private citizens pick up the cudgel to silence political speech than I do when my government does it. Just because it's legal doesn't make it right.
Bottom line? People shouldn't say stupid things about Bush, especially overseas because it only gives Fox something to bluster about for a news cycle. But when people do say stupid things, and they will, the president should get a thicker hide and his supporters should get a life.
I guess all the other problems in America have been solved, huh? Otherwise, we wouldn't be wasting our time on a non-event.