Our recent publishing of both Tim Robbins’ correspondence with Dale Petroskey, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as Robbins’ speech before the National Press Club in Washington, generated a torrent of reader mail. Most of it was very supportive of Robbins but we did receive numerous letters supporting the Hall of Fame’s position as well. We reprint a sampling of the letters below.
Please convey to Mr. Robbins my appreciation for his position on Bush and the invasion of Iraq. He and Susan Sarandon are putting their necks on the line, and showing great courage. This is a lonely time for those who oppose Bush’s policies. I myself, a Vietnam vet (1966-69), have had my patriotism questioned; when they find out my past, they shut up–but why should that make a difference? Woody Allen made a movie about the McCarthy era, and I recall watching it in a rather condescending frame of mind, thinking “what was the matter with those people in the 1950s? How could they be so persecutorial?” Well, those times are back. We all have to fight this now. Robbins and Sarandon, by being famous, give strength to others.
It is truly deplorable that such institutions as the Baseball Hall of Fame are run by people who have no more tact than to use this sacred institution as an instrument of their own political views to force their opinions on the baseball-loving public. I guess we can only hope that future Hall of Famers will also share Mr. Petroskey’s political views for fear that they will also be subjected to such actions. And thank you, Mr. Robbins, for dispelling the notion that it is “un-American” to disagree with the war. Indeed, there is nothing more American than the airing of dissent of popular views in a public that seems wholly unresponsive to public debate. I guess we can only hope that our local cinemas don’t subscribe to the same brand of “patriotism” that Mr. Petroskey seems to favor. I for one like being able to choose the movies I watch regardless of the political backgrounds of the creators.
Shelter Island, New York
Thank you for bringing attention to the Tim Robbins vs. the Baseball Hall of Fame flap. I worked at the museum for nearly a decade, just prior to Mr. Petroskey’s arrival. I’m more surprised by the brazen political nature of Mr. Petroskey’s letter than I am by their decision to cancel the event. This is a very conservative institution, run by a conservative family within a conservative community. I think that just a few short years ago Mr. Robbins would have had to do a bit more reading between the lines. Democrats in Congress, celebrities and average citizens are being intimidated. Conservatives are bolstered by the arrogance and attitudes of Mr. Bush and his regime, and all debate and dissent is trampled under the guise of patriotism and the need to “support our troops.” Attending my daughter’s volleyball game at a local high school the other day, I was shocked to see a poster on display in the lobby which reads, “America, Love it or Leave it.” It’s deja vu all over again.