The name Gary Sinise may not immediately ring a bell, but he’s instantly recognizable from any photo of Lieutenant Dan in “Forrest Gump,” astronaut Ken Mattingly in “Apollo 13,” or detective Mac Taylor in “CSI: NY.” Aside from being a prolific actor, Sinise is known for his humanitarian work, especially in regards to veterans and first responders.
Every year on Jan. 1, the city of Pasadena, California hosts the internationally televised “Tournament of Roses Parade,” better known as the Rose Parade. Dozens of floats decked out in elaborate flower displays move down the parade route amidst numerous bands and equestrian groups.
On Monday, parade president Lance Tibbet announced that Sinise had been selected as grand marshal of the Rose Parade, saying, “Gary’s humanitarian work with our defenders, veterans, first responders and their families over the years embodies our theme to the fullest,” according to LA Weekly.
Sinise leads the Gary Sinise Foundation, which says that about 90% of donated money goes directly to those the foundation helps. But some liberals are criticizing the choice of Sinise to lead the parade for one simple reason: He’s one of the rare Hollywood conservatives.
In fact, Sinise even founded a group called the Friends of Abe in 2005, according to the UK’s The Guardian, aimed at bringing together those in the entertainment industry who are not lock-step liberals. He has reportedly not been involved with the group for several years, though. The group names Clint Eastwood, Jon Voight, Jerry Bruckheimer, Kelsey Grammer, and Patricia Heaton amongst its members and hosted Donald Trump as a speaker shortly after he declared his bid for the presidency in 2015.
"It's not a good look for the city of Pasadena," said Maria Teresa Borden of Indivisible Highland Park, an immigrant group that has pushed hard to make Los Angeles a sanctuary city. "This is a region understood to be friendly to immigrants for centuries. I'm not going to take anything away from Sinise's work with veterans, but I would have thought perhaps they would have chosen someone a little more representative of the region."
The California Democratic Party’s John G. Vigna also criticized the choice of Sinise, saying he wished the actor would be more critical of President Trump’s treatment of veterans. Aside from his humanitarian work, Sinise has been acting in the TV show “Criminal Minds” the past few years.
What do you think of this? In other news, a musician described as "sweepingly influential" has died after a 50-year career.