This Baseball Star Gave a Great Answer on What “Respecting the Office” Really Means

Why the Washington Nationals’ Sean Doolittle won’t be going to the White House.

Sean Doolittle

David J. Phillip / Associated Press

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Pitcher Sean Doolittle was a critical part of the Washington Nationals’ World Series victory, closing out the team’s game-one victory and anchoring the bullpen in the regular season. But he won’t be going to the White House with his team to celebrate their victory alongside President Donald Trump next week. In an interview with the Washington Post on Friday, he explained why:

“People say you should go because it’s about respecting the office of the president,” Doolittle said. “And I think over the course of his time in office he’s done a lot of things that maybe don’t respect the office.”

“The rhetoric, time and time again, has enabled those kind of behaviors,” Doolittle continued, referring to racism and white supremacy. “That never really went away, but it feels like now people with those beliefs, they maybe feel a little bit more empowered. They feel like they have a path, maybe. I don’t want to hang out with somebody who talks like that.”

That’s about as good an answer as you’re going to get, and it cuts right through the “respect the office” scam people like to deploy to shame people who have reservations into attending such events. Respecting the office doesn’t carry an obligation for a championship pitcher to participate in photo-op, especially not one where, if history is any indication, Trump very well might use the opportunity to say something bonkers.

Respecting the office doesn’t mean baseball fans have to stifle dissent, and it’s certainly not about whether you can wear jeans to the White House. To Doolittle, it’s about adhering to a basic standard of decency. Disrespecting the office would be demanding anything less than that from the president.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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