As all baseball fans and many other Americans know, the manager of the Miami Marlins, Ozzie Guillen, told Time magazine that he loves Fidel Castro.
The news focus has been on Guillen's remarks -- for which he has profusely apologized -- and whether the Marlins were right to suspend him for five games.
More important, however, have been the reactions to Guillen's comment. They sustain a thesis that I develop in my book ("Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph") that comes out next week: Leftism poisons just about everything it touches.
Take baseball commissioner Bud Selig's comments:
"Major League Baseball supports today's decision by the Marlins to suspend Ozzie Guillen. As I have often said, Baseball is a social institution with important social responsibilities. All of our 30 Clubs play significant roles within their local communities, and I expect those who represent Major League Baseball to act with the kind of respect and sensitivity that the game's many cultures deserve. Mr. Guillen's remarks, which were offensive to an important part of the Miami community and others throughout the world, have no place in our game."
In other words, according to the commissioner of baseball, what is objectionable is not that Guillen said that he loves the world's longest reigning tyrant, the killer and torturer of democratic dissidents in his country, the destroyer of the Cuban economy, and the man who singlehandedly deadened more than a generation of Cubans' ability to enjoy life. What is objectionable is that Guillen may have offended an important minority in Florida.
To understand how this is related to Leftist poison, imagine if, let us say, a manager of the Chicago White Sox or Chicago Cubs had said, while apartheid ruled in South Africa, that he "loves" South Africa's white apartheid leader. Would the commissioner of baseball have announced that this manager's comments "were offensive to an important part" of the Chicago community? Or would he have said that expressing support for a racist dictator is unconscionable, and that it offends decency, not merely one of "the game's many cultures"?
We all know the answer.
What Leftism has done is to 1) render Communist evil less morally objectionable than other evils and 2) render morality a matter of multiculturalism. There are no moral absolutes; there is only cultural relativism. So, Cubans in Miami may find Ozzie Guillen's love of Castro offensive, but Castro is not morally offensive beyond that community.
The replacement of universal moral standards by multicultural sensitivity has permeated almost everything written about Guillen's comments. As the Christian Science Monitor reported, "The comments might not have caused too much of a stir in many other cities. But Guillen coaches a team with a pricey new ballpark in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami, densely populated by Cuban-Americans who fervently dislike Fidel Castro. "
It was all about the idiosyncratic "dislike" of Castro among Cuban Americans.
No mainstream report I saw spoke about how awful it is that a person living in freedom would find such a morally loathsome man as Fidel Castro worthy of being loved.
Nor is Guillen alone. Robert Redford and many other Hollywood luminaries have regularly visited Cuba and dined with Castro. Indeed, the baseball commissioner himself sat next to Castro when the Baltimore Orioles visited Havana some years ago.
Are all these people -- in baseball, in Hollywood, and in politics (members of the Congressional Black Caucus were glowing in their assessments of Castro after visiting with him, while refusing to meet with black Cuban dissidents) -- bad people?
No. Rather, most are decent people who have been poisoned by Leftism.
Leftism affects everyone who has drunk at its well. As I have previously noted, how else can one explain Thomas Friedman, a decent man and an identifying Jew, who nevertheless offered a classic anti-Semitic libel when he wrote that when the members of the United States Congress gave Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a standing ovation, "That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby"?
Americans of every background should be as repulsed as Cuban Americans when a public figure announces that he loves Fidel Castro. And only when that day arrives will we be able to say that Leftism no longer dominates America's moral life.