That Tim Thomas Thing
So for those that don’t know, one of the Bruins’ goalies skipped out on a recent trip to the White House honoring them for winning the Stanley Cup. You can find all the details, statements, etc over on: http://nhlbruins.tumblr.com/
On the one hand, I can’t agree with Thomas’s politics. I’ve never been a fan of the libertarian viewpoint, although I can’t disagree with them, when it comes to civil rights. I think Thomas and the Bruins’ PR people handled the whole thing badly, and keeping him from the Boys & Girls Club event after made him look even worse. I think he missed an opportunity for dialogue–it’s our duty as citizens to engage in that, and he had an opportunity few do. I also think he let his team down, since I’m sure he’s not the only one on the team with conservative political beliefs. (Granted, most of the team is Canadian, and Canadian politics is left-of-center, with their conservatives being more like our moderates.)
On the other hand, while I disagree with Thomas’s viewpoint, I absolutely support his right to have that opinion. It’s not right that the media is trouncing him as badly as they are, when some of the Red Sox refused to visit Bush (and didn’t get quite the response from the media.) Truth be told, if I had an opportunity to visit the White House, I don’t know if I could. I’m pretty damn pissed off about the war in Afghanistan, the constant drone wars, the fact that Guantanamo Bay is still open, and the fact that nobody has been held responsible for the policy of torture the Obama administration inherited.
In the end, though, is this really any different than the libertarians on my Facebook feed? They make a statement I disagree with. I can respond or not. I make a statement they disagree with, and they’re free to do the same. In the end, the things I admire about them still outweigh the things I disagree with. We agree to disagree about a lot, and life goes on.
Is this any different? Thomas is a gifted athlete. I admire his origin story, since it parallels mine. I love the fact that he’s got an English degree, and that his recommendation for the Bruins summer reading list (for kids) was The Lord of the Rings. In the end, though, he’s a person just like the rest of us: uniquely gifted and flawed.
In another sense, I’m not owed more of an explanation. To demand more feels like sinking into fan entitlement. While what I do as a composer is overtly political–all art is political–hockey isn’t. If I put a piece of music out there and someone like Thomas questions my politics in it, he/she is free to do so. I’d also hope that it transcends politics and speaks to something else. That having been said, while we can discuss the statement Thomas made, pointing to his performance as a goalie doesn’t hold up in the same manner. There’s a clear line between politics and hockey that doesn’t exist between art/music/literature and politics. If I want what I do as a composer to speak to more than just the people who agree with me politically, I have to extend that to others. In the end, while I find Thomas’s statement problematic, we’re going to have to agree to disagree.