President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Earlier this fall, we heard the heartwarming story of the '85 Bears finally getting an invite to the White House, a ceremony that was abandoned twenty-six years ago when the Challenger Explosion happened two days after the Bears won their first and only Super Bowl title. It'll be a bittersweet experience for the Bears, given that both Walter Payton and Dave Duerson are no longer alive to take part in the festivities. And now it'll be a little extra bittersweet because defensive tackle Dan Hampton is refusing to go (full disclosure: Dan Hampton works as an analyst for this station). His reason:
I’m not a fan of the guy in the White House
Hampton was also irked by the lateness of the invitation and the fact that spouses and children weren't included on the invite. But every other surviving member of the team (including head coach Mike Ditka, who nearly ran against Barack Obama for an Illinois senate seat) is overlooking those perceived snubs in order to attend, and some of Hampton's teammates have taken him to task for his grumpy-old-man routine, as well they should.
First of all, the President was trying to make up for lost time. It's not as if inviting the '85 Bears for a White House visit is gonna magically make voters forget about the state of the economy. Secondly, they can only invite so many people. Your stupid kids aren't gonna fit on the dais. They'll live if you have to keep them home.
Thirdly, if the President invites you to come to the White House, you go. There's a certain respect that should still be afforded for the office of President, whether or not you agree with the President's views or not (any President, liberal or conservative). One of the nice things about being an American is that most of us can disagree with one another and still see fit to hang out together. That's the point of democracy, that we're comfortable enough to discuss our differences face-to-face. For Hampton to crap out just because he's "not a fan" of Obama is immature and stupid. He should suck it up, put on a suit, and go shake the man's hand. Trust me, everyone daydreams about meeting the President and giving him a piece of their mind. But most people have the presence of mind to bottle it and conduct themselves with class when they get to meet the leader of the free world in person. It took the Bears 26 years to get to the White House. A bit of gratitude is in order.