Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tim Thomas gives back

By now the entire world -- OK, that corner of the world that follows New England sports, which in New England we assume is the entire world -- knows that Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas blew off the Stanley Cup winners' White House visit, including a meeting with President Barack Obama.
Thomas said snubbing the ceremony wasn't political.
"I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.
This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government.
Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL."
Gee, sure sounds like politics. But I digress.
A lot was made on Boston-area TV today of his right to exercise free speech, free will and all that other good stuff that our constitution allows by not attending. Yeah, I get it, we're not North Korea. As if that were the issue.
It would have been nice if Thomas had elaborated a little on his complaints. I read a lot of newspapers and watch a lot of news shows, but I haven't heard any details about this attack on citizens he's talking about. I want to know now, before they come to take my house away.

Here's what I do know:
He's right. The founding fathers didn't envision the federal government as it is today. Because the America they lived in was nothing like the America of today. Unless you are a very rich white gentleman farmer with no health complaints, I think you would agree in a lot of ways it's better than it was back in 1776.
One thing the founding fathers DID envision, I'm pretty sure, is a government that would try to take care of its people as best it could, and fairly. Their view back then of who "its people" was may have been different, but the overall point was by the people and for the the people.
I'm sure they never pictured that someone who looked a lot like the guys picking their cotton for free would be running the country -- but the plan they put in motion, with a lot of tweaks, eventually allowed that to happen.
I bet a lot of the people in Thomas' hometown, Flint, Mich., are thanking their lucky stars we live in a country where the government attempts to take care of its people. It's got one of the hardest-hit economies in the country. But some good news there -- the unemployment rate in Flint dropped from 12.4 in July to 8.7 by the end of 2011.
But Thomas may not know this. Or care.
Because here's another thing I bet the founding fathers never envisioned:
A boy from Flint, Mich., getting one of the finest four-year educations in the country because he could stop a little black hard piece of rubber from going into a net.
And that same boy, 15 years later, making $5 million a year for doing the same thing.
Is this a great country or what?
Yeah, it is. So great that you can't get paid that kind of money for playing hockey in any other country in the world. Which is one of the reasons Thomas was only one of the two Americans on that Stanley Cup winning Bruins team. Kids in Canada, the Finland and the Czech Republic can now also live the American Dream.
All those non-Americans showed up to meet Obama by the way.
And I bet the founding fathers didn't picture an America where a boy from Flint, Mich., who played a game for a living got a chance to go to Washington on someone else's dime and shake the hand of the guy running the country.
And that is pretty cool.
So, someone needs to remind me, what's Thomas' gripe again?