Why does everything have to be political?
These days it appears everything is. Identity politics. Political correctness. Woke politics.
Each person apparently has to hate someone else. Trash them in fact. The time for true discussion, negotiation, compromise and diplomacy has been put to the side. Basically, everything sucks.
2020 was a year where I “lost” 12 former golf buddies. Women and men who no longer wanted to play the wonderful game of golf with this corner.
Why? Did I take too many gimmies or outright cheat? Not buy drinks at the turn? Employ the foot wedge?
Merely commenting to someone’s question on a singular issue – not supporting a candidate or a political party – meant no more golf. One so called friend, who I’d had a regular game with, actually asked to play at my course and I gleefully took care of his fees, never thanked me nor returned calls for a rematch.
My sin? I said it was good to hear the United States had peace agreements with several mid-east countries. Something our country has been trying to achieve for decades.
But in today’s politically charged environment it could have been that I’d spit on the flag or robbed a bank. We were done.
Whatever. I played more golf in a COVID year than any year in the past. Okay, some of those rounds were not available for posting to the USGA because they were by myself, but damn, it was a bright side of an awful year.
Which brings us to Christine Brennan’s column in USA Today recently where she called out Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player for accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald J. Trump. Brennan basically said each recipient was negligent to humanity by accepting the award from the President.
She’s entitled to her opinion. That’s what the First Amendment is all about.
There is no question professional golfers Player and Sorenstam (and the Babe Didrikson Zaharias) deserve recognition of the Medal of Freedom. Actually long overdue. Each is golf icon in their own right. Hall of Famers. Caring. Charitable. And darned nice people.
The Medal represents “especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world piece, cultural or other significant or public endeavors.” It is an award not limited to citizens of the United States.
Does anyone think they are not deserving?
To decree they should have refused the award defies logic and unfathomable.
It is not the Donald Trump Award. It is the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Since the 1960s recognition has been given to a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life and from throughout the world.
Somehow Brennan has made this prestigious award political and all about Trump instead of being about what it was intended, to recognize outstanding, deserving people. Player and Sorenstam are exemplary recipients, and they’ve been tarnished by this hit piece in a national publication. That’s just wrong. They don't deserve to be chastised for accepting the award.
Each of these people are special in their own way, with numerous accomplishments on the course and significant ones off. Giving them the award was immensely right, not wrong regardless of who actually handed them the award.
Just as it would be wrong to single out the scores of recipients honored by William Jefferson Clinton, who had sex with an intern inside the White House and was accused of rape and sexual harassment and whose law license was suspended due to his actions. Does that mean deserving honorees such as George McGovern, Jesse Jackson or Rosalynn Carter should have declined the Medal when Clinton handed it to them?
Richard Nixon, before his resignation due to Watergate scandal, oversaw nearly 40 Medal of Freedom awards including those to Duke Ellington, Neil Armstrong and Eugene Ormandy and not a single person rejected the honor.
Much has been documented about Barack Obama ordering drone killings of American citizens and his knowledge of wiretapping/spying on an incoming administration. Does that mean Billy Jean King, Sandra Day O’Connor or Bill Russell should have declined the honor?
Of course not.
If it were a partisan decision then the lists of recipients would reflect the President’s own opinion, not one that was well thought out, recommended, and ultimately granted.
But hey, in this politically charged environment everything must be determined by some woke knee-jerk adjudication. At least that’s what some think.
Gary Player and Annika Sorenstam are wonderful, caring and deserving recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It’s an award that should be celebrated and not become a political football. Their acceptance of the award was the right thing to do.