By Dan Bernstein- Senior Columnist

(CBS) It’s probably a bad idea to protest the trampling of your rights and liberties by…exercising them.

That would be like protesting a hot dog by eating it.

Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas refused to accompany his teammates to the White House Monday, letting them celebrate their Stanley Cup without him. He took to Facebook to explain himself, apparently while wearing a tri-corn hat.

“I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People,” he wrote. “This is being done at the Executive, Legislative and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers (sic) vision for the Federal government…This was not about politics or party.”

He’s pretty angry.

And he makes no sense. First, what’s the point of making what’s obviously a political statement, and then claiming it’s not “about politics?” What could it possibly be about, then? This, from the guy with “Don’t tread on me” stenciled on his mask.

It would be easier to respect his decision if we could at least understand it. Dan Hampton skipped the belated White House trip with the 1985 Bears, because he is “…not a fan of the guy in the White House.” OK, fine. Your loss.

It’s about the office and the honor, not any implied endorsement of any policy or position. If someone wants to miss out on such a special opportunity, that is their right, despite the rampant oppression perceived by Thomas. There are still places where an appearance before Dear Leader is compulsory, not optional.

I’ll await the reflexive response from dunderheads that goes something like this: “He’s got you talking about it! He wins! He’s bringing attention to it!”

The only problem with that argument is that there is no “it.” He’s not bringing attention to anything substantive or rational, and he’s lacking any kind of coherent cause. He’s not freeing Tibet or Mumia Abu Jamal, shining a light on atrocities between the Hutus and Tutsis, sticking up for Falun Gong, or campaigning to have pets spayed or neutered. Tim Thomas is only successful in raising awareness of Tim Thomas.

He’s allowed to do it, at least until the rapacious government decides to abolish that right as well. Others have had different ideas: Craig Hodges visited President Bush with his Bulls teammates, opting to hand-deliver a letter about something, and wearing a dashiki for some reason. (The fact that I have no idea what his cause was should say something about this whole story.)

If Thomas wants, he can co-opt the tactics of the Occupy movement, which chose to protest a zero-sum economic fallacy by sitting on the street and smelling bad. That didn’t work, either, as giant corporations still exist to make money, and rich people are still rich, last I checked.

So to get this straight – Tim Thomas is publicly announcing his decision to act freely without governmental repercussion, rejecting a request to appear before the president. He is doing so to protest the government’s threatening of his liberty. Huh?

He added “This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL.”

Also as an IDIOT.

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein: The Failed Protest Of Tim Thomas
Dan Bernstein joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995, and has been the co-host of Boers and Bernstein since 1999. Read more of Bernstein’s columns, or follow him on Twitter: @dan_bernstein.

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