From John Rutherford on Don Imus:
The sensible response should have been to use the Imus incident as a springboard for a meaningful discussion on race relations. However, what we got were knee-jerk reactions by people who were quick to take offense and slow to find real solutions to the underlying problems. The consequence of such behavior is an increasing tendency to pre-censor unpopular and detested ideas instead of discussing them and, thus, dealing with them head-on.
However, by allowing the monster of political correctness to trash our First Amendment right to free speech, we slam the door on open debate and dialogue. Ultimately, intimidating people into silence will lead to more grievous problems. Don Imus’ statements were crude and certainly uncalled for, but to totally dismantle his life destroys him as a person. Call for an apology. Correct his misguided views. But don’t suppress his speech. And, above all, don’t annihilate the man.
If people fear losing their jobs or having their lives ruined for uttering offensive remarks, they become afraid to speak. Without a public outlet for their thoughts—hateful or otherwise, they fester in secret. This is where most violent acts are born. And that is why the First Amendment in its protection of speech is so important. It acts as a steam valve to let those who hate release their pent-up anger.
I tend to agree with John on most things and this is no exception – we haven’t dealt with anything this last week. I hope that Oprah’s show today will begin to address real issues.