In the genteel world of bridge, disputes are usually handled quietly and rarely involve issues of national policy. But in a fight reminiscent of the brouhaha over an anti-Bush statement by Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks in 2003, a team of women who represented the United States at the world bridge championships in Shanghai last month is facing sanctions, including a yearlong ban from competition, for a spur-of-the-moment protest.
At issue is a crudely lettered sign, scribbled on the back of a menu, that was held up at an awards dinner and read, â€œWe did not vote for Bush.â€
By e-mail, angry bridge players have accused the women of â€œtreasonâ€ and â€œsedition.â€
The players have been stunned by the reaction to what they saw as a spontaneous gesture, â€œa moment of levity,â€ said Gail Greenberg, the teamâ€™s nonplaying captain and winner of 11 world championships.
â€œWhat we were trying to say, not to Americans but to our friends from other countries, was that we understand that they are questioning and critical of what our country is doing these days, and we want you to know that we, too, are critical,â€ Ms. Greenberg said, stressing that she was speaking for herself and not her six teammates.
The controversy has gone global, with the French team offering support for its American counterparts.
â€œBy trying to address these issues in a nonviolent, nonthreatening and lighthearted manner,â€ the French team wrote in by e-mail to the federationâ€™s board and others, â€œyou were doing only what women of the world have always tried to do when opposing the folly of men who have lost their perspective of reality.â€
What these ladies should have done is reminded the Bush-haters that they were at a bridge tournament and not a political convention and that good manners prohibit the discussion of politics at a table where it is not welcome. Iâ€™m fairly sure that reminding your fellow bridge players of their manners would have solved the problem.
Then you beat the stuffing out of them and taunt them relentlessly from the winnersâ€™ podium. Maybe you even stack the losers up in a pyramid and have one of your team point at them and laugh while you take pictures.
I assume that last bit was another attempt at levity. But what this tells me is that wingnuts don’t get out much. These days, for Americans, to go abroad is to be treated with, at the very least, caution. We may look normal on the surface, but at the least provocation we may grow tusks and root up the shrubberies.
But these ladies appear to have run into some outright hostility, and they were trying to diffuse the situation. Any emotionally mature person might have done the same thing, which is why wingnuts don’t understand it.
Did they not notice they were playing cards in Communist China?
China- The same country that harvests prisoner’s body organs- The same country that jails Christians and people of faith- The same country that murdered 30-40 million of its own citizens less than 50 years ago.
Do these pampered loons have any perspective of history?
Standard wingnut moral relativism — whatever we do is OK, because China is worse. But in the real world, people who claim a higher standard had better live up to it or face the snarking.
The bridge lady might have written this on her menu instead:
It is not fair for bridge players to criticize GWB. He exemplifies something essential to playing every hand of bridge.
But what does it say about a nation that allows a dummy to be its head of state for eight years?