On the Power of Sport to Unite, The Power of Politics to Divide, and Why, As Much as Possible, It’s Best to Keep the Two Separate (Or, Why California Officials Had Best Be Very Careful on that High Horse They’re Riding)
By Ken K. Gourdin
The state of California has banned travel by its state employees to various other states because those states have taken stances on various sociopolitical issues (such as bathroom use by transgender individuals) which California officials see as unenlightened (to put it mildly).
Among the state employees affected by the ban are officials of the various athletic teams of several of the state’s institutions of higher learning. Columnist Doug Robinson of Salt Lake City’s Deseret News opines on the issue here, noting that, whatever the state’s virtues, from a fiscal responsibility standpoint, it hardly is well-enough managed to start dictating policy to other states on that front (this and any other links last accessed June 29, 2017):
While such moments were and are all too fleeting, three examples of the power of sports to unite are the Olympic Games, the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, and the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September the 11th, 2001 on the United States.
I commented as follows:
As appealing as it might seem to be able (at least rhetorically) to claim the moral high ground by saying, “I will not [fill-in-the-blank] with an organization or with an individual unless that organization or that individual agrees with me about absolutely everything,” such a stance is fraught with complexities which, at first glance, are not always apparent.
Any organization or individual assuming authority over others as a moral arbiter in cases such as this ought to exercise the greatest care to ensure that one’s own hands, one’s own heart, and one’s own motives are as pure as one believes them to be. (Blind spots caused by beams in one’s own eye often obscure the vision of those who believe they see well enough to remove the motes from the eyes of others.)
If one believes that I am, or that my state or that an organization with which I affiliate is, mistaken on some matter, one is welcome to dialogue with me about that matter. Boycotts, by contrast, impede such dialogue rather than facilitating it. Meanwhile, I prefer my sports to transcend politics rather than falling prey to them. Sports have power to unite while politics, by contrast, too often divides.