February 26, 2004

What if?

by Chris Feeney

What if money could buy you love? The famous Beatles song says it can’t. Well, how about a little respect? Did you see the soccer game a few weeks ago in Guadalajara, Mexico between the Mexican and United States teams that were vying for a spot in the 2004 Summer Olympics. The home crowd booed during the playing of the American National Anthem and then began chanting Osama, Osama, Osama as time ran out on the Mexican victory. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. For whatever reason, the United States is a favorite target for such disrespect, but coming from Mexico I was a bit surprised.

Apparently these fans were not among the seven million immigrant workers that will be granted citizenship in the country they disrespected under President Bush’s new immigration plan. I guess Osama’s work did little to slow down the flow of $17 billion that goes to Mexico each year via workers from that country holding jobs in the United States either legally or illegally.

Okay, so this was just an international soccer game, a venue that is traditionally filled with some of the worst acting fans in any sport. Still it burns this American to see a neighbor treat a “friend” in this manner. I guarantee if my neighbor disrespected me in this manner, I definitely wouldn’t be paying him a visit anytime real soon. Is it silly to cancel a trip to Cancun because of some stupid soccer fans? Maybe, but if we allow such public sentiment to grow unchecked aren’t we basically saying it’s all right to bite the hand that feeds you? I’m not saying these folks don’t have the right to free speech, but then again most of us would be smart enough not to bad mouth the boss on national TV the day before interviewing for a new job at that office.

Unfortunately, this soccer event didn’t draw a lot of national attention. It was reported by the AP and was featured in a piece on the O’Reilly Factor (one of my favorite shows by the way) but, as it was not a nationally televised event, there likely won’t be much backlash. It still points out the fact that regardless of what the United States does to help other countries there will always be those that do not appreciate our efforts.

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