Well, it finally happened.

6 years ago

Today's the day I had to choose support for President Obama or my (inexplicable) lifelong allegiance to the Chicago Cubs.  While the charm of Wrigley Field, malt cups, the team's rich history, and the generations of shared misery keep Cubby fans bleeding blue year after year, there has been one thing I have always managed to look past.  It wasn't the falling pieces of stadium that sparked "tear Wrigley down" cries from non-believers a couple of years ago.  It isn't their less-than-stellar record...year after year after year.  It isn't Wrigleyville's lack of parking or the curses or the advertising that keeps creeping closer to the field every year (but don't get me started on that).  It isn't even Bartman.

The Ricketts family, relatively new owners of the team, are staunch Republicans.  Such fans of the GOP that they - along with similar-minded strategists - have developed the "Ricketts plan," a multi-million dollar advertising campaign against President Obama using Reverend Jeremiah Wright's passionate sermons against the President.

This is ridiculous and offensive on many levels.  First, the Wright controversy ended long ago.  As we can all remember, Obama left Wright's congregation during this time and downplayed the provocative rhetoric that had been used in Wright's sermons.  Second of all - who cares?  I don't dislike Mitt Romney because of his religion.  Rather, his proposed policies are illogical and beneficial to only the wealthiest of Americans.  If the Ricketts family wants to campaign for the GOP, then they should talk issues and not former pastors.  (Hypocritically, at the same time, the Ricketts' are proposing that they receive government funding to renovate parts of Wrigley Field.)

It seems the only voice of reason of the Ricketts family is Laura Ricketts.  Laura, the CEO of ecotravel.com, is the first openly gay owner of a major-league sports team.  When news of her family's plan to fund anti-Obama ads broke today, she joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in denouncing the idea and lending her support to the Obama campaign:

“All of my family members and I love this country and are passionate about doing what is right for the country. That love of country was instilled in us by my father. We have different political views on how to achieve what is best for the future of America, but we agree that each of us is entitled to our own views and our right to voice those views.

"Though we may have diverse political views, above all we love and respect each other,” Laura Ricketts said in a statement. "My own personal view is that President Obama has been a great leader in very difficult times. He has been leading us to an economic recovery; served with great honor as commander-in-chief during a time of war; been a strong proponent on issues important to women and just last week he exhibited great courage in endorsing the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian Americans.” 

As reported in the New York Times, "Lamenting that voters "still aren't ready to hate this president," the document concludes that the campaign should "explain how forces out of Obama's control, that shaped the man, have made him completely the wrong choice as president in these days and times." Campaigning for candidates for public office should be honest; respectful debate over important policy issues should be encouraged.

So, while I am not shaken of my love for the North-siders, I really can't stand their owners (with Laura as the exception, of course).  While I've known the Cubbies for longer, my support of Obama is attributable to countless positive effect his policies have had and will have on me.  I think Rahm says it best: “America is too great a country with too great a future with the content they are talking about,” added the mayor. “And it’s insulting to the president, it’s insulting to the country.”

What do you think?  Does the Ricketts fan go too far?  Do you think the proposal to use government funds to renovate Wrigley Field are now doomed?  If you're interested, the document is posted here.
Originally posted on www.moderndaypearls.com.
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