Friday, March 2, 2012

Sandra Fluke and Two Presidents

It was good to see Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke supported by two Presidents today - the President of the United States, who called Ms. Fluke just before her appearance on Andrea Mitchell's MSNBC show this afternoon, and the President of Georgetown University, who sent an email this morning that insisted on the right of his student to "respectful free expression".

President John J. DeGioia's support is especially noteworthy.  He's President of the oldest Jesuit university in the United States.  The Catholic Church opposes contraception.  But DeGioia made the point that human beings are entitled to respect - entitled not to receive the abusive commentary Sandra Fluke got from Rush Limbaugh - whether we agree with their opinions or not.  That's an important civilizing position in our culture.

Barack Obama has by and large followed this civilized course, in contrast to his Republican opponents, who by and large have not.   Where are Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, and Ron Paul on Linbaugh's vicious comments?  Are they ok with denouncing a woman who dares to speak her mind about contraception as a "slut" and a "prostitute"?   Is the country they want to lead?

As for Limbaugh, it's long been clear that he speaks for the dregs of humanity.  Calling a woman a "slut" is the oldest benighted male trick in the book, the easy way of responding to any woman who dares to say anything that shakes the status quo.  It was already worthy of  ridicule back in the 1970s on Saturday Night Live, when Dan Aykroyd's character regularly called Jane Curtain's character a "slut," in their faux Point/Counterpoint skit.

But Limbaugh's words are no joke.  The First Amendment says he's entitled to say whatever he pleases, without fear of government reprisal.  But the First Amendment does not entitle him to a job on radio.  It's time for his sponsors to leave him, and act on John DeGioia's important opinion.
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