The Great Connections Seminar

The Great Connections Seminar
Discussing ethics

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Intolerance on Inauguration Day

At Mason district schools near Dayton, Ohio, criticisms and caricatures of the incoming or outgoing Presidents will not be allowed today, based on whether they make others feel “unwelcome or uncomfortable,” reports the Dayton Daily News.

So much for free speech in the public schools. Political correctness deep-sixes tolerance once again. (Hat tip to John Welsh.)


y-intercept said...

I am with the school board on this one.

The primary thesis of the article was that the inauguration is the wrong time for political posturing. This could be considered part of a solid universal message that people should temper their political statements to the moment.

It is entirely possible that there are double standards being displayed either at the school or with the newspaper. For example, if the school is using the inauguration to transition from a state of encouraging agititation to suppressing expression; then, yes, there is a troublesome double standard.

As for the article, I noticed the lack of a quote from the ACLU. Of course, not every journalist sees the ACLU as the primary source on all questions about civil liberties. If this journal routinely quotes the ACLU in articles about Conservatives, then there is a clear double standard.

It would be interesting to do a study of the change in the style of various journalists before and after the inauguration.

I would also question the accuracy of the article. Reporting a provocative t-shirt as it were news is strange. There is a billion dollar industry in making provocative tees.

A lot of things, however, happen naturally. For example, many conservatives teachers believe in respecting officials regardless of political affiliation. Their view would have been rejected as partisan during the Bush inauguration, but get it gets heard now.

It is likely that the ACLU will get fewer donations during the Obama administration; Consequently, they won't be as active, regardless of what they really feel.

The story might be the beginning of a pattern, but, IMHO, the message of the story is legit.

Marsha Familaro Enright said...

Y-intercept, you have many, many good points. I agree that the inauguration is a time for respect of our amazing peace in the transfer of such great power (amazing, historically).

What I didn't like in particular about the school edict was the standard they used: comments aren't allowed which might make others feel "unwelcome or uncomfortable."

This says nothing about the principle of respect towards the political process.