You will be free to build a
better life, instead of
building more palaces for Sadaam and his sons, free to pursue economic prosperity without the hardship of economic sanctions, free to travel and speak your mind, and free to join in the political affairs of Iraq.”
This message was part of a speech delivered by President Bush to the Iraqi people last week. It was an address that Dale Petroskey, president of the Baseball Hall of Fame and was an honored guest at UR’s 2001 Meliora Weekend that celebrated freedom, must have missed.
Petroskey, a former aide in the Reagan White House, decided last week to arbitarily cancel a celebration to honor the 15th anniversary of the movie “Bull Durham” that was to begin April 26. At issue in Petroskey’s eyes was the opposition of the movie’s two stars, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, to the ongoing war in Iraq.
In a letter to the two stars, Petroskey said that their “very public” criticism of the war could “undermine” the war effort and ultimately “put our troops in even more danger.”
Besides the argument being ludicrous – the opinion of two stars in Hollywood would have absolutely no impact on the safety of our troops in Iraq – there are several issues of note.
It is an absolute disrespect to the troops fighting in Iraq to silence the opinions of those back at home, even those who are against their efforts. Voltaire said it best, “I may not believe what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.” Denying Americans the same privileges that our troops are fighting to preserve in the world is not the way to show our support for them.
Petroskey also committed the crime he set out to prevent Robbins and Sharadon from committing. He used the Hall of Fame as a platform for his personal politics. It seems to be a little heavy-handed for Petroskey to suddenly decide who can and who can’t go to the Hall of Fame.
In criticizing actors using their power to advance their own political objective, he also must have forgotten that Reagan, his former boss, was not the least bit shy about using the name recognition he gained as an actor to advance ideological ideas. In fact, Reagan rode that recognition straight to the White House.
Petroskey’s decision also sadly politicizes something that should have nothing to do with politics, our national pastime – baseball. The sport is something that should belong to everyone regardless of their political beliefs.
Robbins, said it best, noting he was “unaware that baseball was a Republican sport.”
That is something I was unaware of as well.
Hildebrandt can be reached at email@example.com.