Mar

23

Letters: What have we become?

Posted by : Erik Walsh | On : March 23, 2012

Dear Editor,

A young woman can testify to a committee of her many sexual escapades and demand the government to pay for her protection. Talk show hosts and comedians can use the foulest of language to describe both this young woman and women in general. Elected officials spout pure filth through open microphones, make obscene gestures during speeches, and laugh about their faux pas. Other elected officials not only fail to condemn such language but take millions of dollars from the very persons who perpetuate this type of talk. Even mainstream newscasters belittle women, especially those who have differing viewpoints than theirs, portraying them as “cheap, ill-informed tramps.”

Obama may have a point. He says we should use algae to produce fuel. Seems as though plenty of “pond scum” is readily available. Hollywood, New York City and Washington D.C. will become “fonts of fuel.”

Deanna Drab
Payne Springs

Comment (1)

  1. Diana S. Hunter said on 26-03-2012

    Dear Ms. Drab,

    Thank you very much for writing this letter to the editor.

    I, too, have been sorely concerned about the demeaning and offensive terms tossed out in connection with certain women by men who are entertainers and public figures. I remain rankled by the pejorative terms tossed out in connection with both Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman. However, given that each of these women chose to enter politics and public life, I realized that TECHNICALLY, under the laws that pertain to public figures, they are (for all practical purposes) fair game for such commentary. I also acknowledge that the First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the “free speech” of the men making the statements—even when they choose to use extremely offense and vulgar terms such as those that have been used in reference to both Congresswoman Bachmann and former Governor Palin. At the same time, I have never accepted that there is a valid reason for choosing these emotionally-charged, derogative terms in the first place. I suppose it could be attributed to the desire for shock value. But, it is indeed a sad commentary on the standards of both entertainment and public discourse when any woman could be subjected to such personal attacks.

    Then there was the flare-up over the testimony to Congress by Sandra Fluke. Initially, I thought Ms. Fluke was a person who had not entered the realm of “public figure.” Since, I am not an attorney who specializes in this legal area, I still don’t know for sure if she would be legally deemed as a “public figure.” But, I did eventually realize that Ms. Fluke is an activist and, perhaps, a public figure.

    A while back, I found a short biographical sketch of Ms. Fluke. It stated:

    “Sandra Kay Fluke is an American law student and women’s rights activist enrolled at Georgetown University Law Center. She graduated from Cornell University in 2003 and spent five years working for Sanctuary for Families, a New York-based nonprofit organization aiding victims of domestic violence, where she launched the agency’s pilot Program Evaluation Initiative. She co-founded the New York Statewide Coalition for Fair Access to Family Court, which successfully advocated for legislation granting access to civil orders of protection for unmarried victims of domestic violence, including LGBTQ victims and teens. Fluke was also a member of the Manhattan Borough President’s Taskforce on Domestic Violence and numerous other New York City and New York State coalitions that successfully advocated for policy improvements impacting victims of domestic violence. While at Georgetown University Law Center, she worked on issues that involved domestic violence and human trafficking.”

    Also, I accessed the written text of the testimony presented by Ms. Fluke at the hearing held by the Democrats. This was after her request to present information was rejected and she was not allowed to speak at the hearing held by the Republicans. When I read the testimony presented by Ms. Fluke, I realized that it was very different from what most media outlets were maintaining she said. Even the Forbes website had an opinion piece that fell in line with that which, I think, came from Rush Limbaugh’s statements during his radio broadcast. I have read and reread Ms. Fluke’s presentation; and, I find little in it that bears any resemblance to what she has been charged with saying. As her presentation was not vulgar or common, I personally feel that individuals interested in the ongoing issue of inappropriate treatment of women who chose to participate in the governance of our country should actually read what she presented. Then, form an opinion. I am not suggesting that everyone will agree with the recommendations to which Ms. Fluke testified; however, I do think that readers will realize that she was not speaking about herself and she certainly was addressing valid concerns—including the medical issues of other female students (who are in similar financial circumstances such as she is).

    I found the text of Ms. Fluke’s testimony on line. I’m very thankful that the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) News took this approach so that any interested citizen can actually read the presentation made by Ms. Fluke. I strongly encourage anyone interested in this subject to do so.

    The link to the testimony is as follows:

    http://abcnews.go.com/images/Politics/statement-Congress-letterhead-2nd%20hearing.pdf

    Ms. Fluke is certainly not a Public Figure in the same category as Rush Limbaugh. She is also not in the same category as either Congresswoman Bachmann or former Governor Palin. David Frum, a Republican, categorized Ms. Fluke as a “civilian.” But, even if it turns out that she is legally a Public Figure (because of her activism), I failed to find anything in her testimony that would in any way justify the use of the terms applied to her by Mr. Limbaugh.

    Why would any private citizen choose to participate in our government if by doing so, she opens herself up to such defamation of character?”

    There are many ways to disagree in principle without making unwarranted, harsh, and malicious attacks on the character of the person representing another perspective. And, so that we do not bear false witness against our neighbor, reading what she actually said seems the prudent thing to do.

    Sincerely,

    Diana S. Hunter

    Rural Henderson County

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