“Aggrandizing what amounts to a stunt based on misinformed views of the First Amendment cheapens the real and courageous achievements of those who advance the causes of civil rights by refusing to comply with immoral laws”
—–The Washington Post, in an editorial entitled “Dancing at a National Memorial Isn’t Civil Disobedience”
The Post is talking about the escalating and pointless battle by self-indulgent, publicity-seeking, First Amendment grand-standers —a description that I shortened to the crude but sufficiently explanatory “assholes” in my post on the same topic-–to demonstrate for the endangered ‘right” to dance inside government memorial structures(Next up: frog races, strip shows, and Mummer parades). The editorial makes the true content of this noble exercise plain: it is 100% nonsense: “Dancers plan to reconvene at the Jefferson Memorial on Saturday. Proclaims the event’s Facebook page: ‘You don’t have to risk arrest, you can dance on the steps outside in support or join us in civil disobedience in the memorial!’ Civil disobedience? To what end? No one was banned from dancing in the memorial because of race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or citizenship status. Pro-government ballroom aficionados were not given preference over anti-government breakdancers.”
No, the government just wants to keep the mood in memorials memorial-like, an objective that used to be achievable without laws, arrests and court opinions, and though that is the preference of virually everyone who visits Mr. Jefferson or Mr. Lincoln, the disciples of Mary Brooke Oberwetter feel that they should challenge that reasonable objective. It makes them feel powerful and important, when in fact they are selfish and juvenile.
So sympathetic has much of the media, and a lot of ethics alarms commenters of good ethical pedigree, been to these as–self-indulgent, publicity-seeking, First Amendment-trivializing grand-standers (in part because the park police may have been excessively harsh to one of the arrested demonstrators, though that is irrelevant to the dancing issue) that I feared I had finally entered the dreaded ethics Bizarro-world where all my instincts would seem backwards.
At least the Washington Post gets it. Whew!
3 thoughts on “Ethics Quote of the Week: The Washington Post Editors”
When I first read the last article, I thought, “Welllll… in a way, if we give people the freedom dance in a memorial, then we know that those people are idiots, in the same way that we must have the freedom to draw Muhammad so people can judge them to be insensitive cloth-eared dopes.” But I can see why this is actually a good idea.
I plan on bringing along the 100-member-strong Washington Chapter of the National Yodelists’ Guild, as well as the 450 members of Save the Bagpipes. Should be quite a show, and think of all the rights we’ll be promoting!!!
If Ann Miller actually showed up at a monument to celebrate ANY of the dead memorialized guys, I’d pay for a seat, frankly. I sincerely doubt anyone of her caliber would cross the ‘a-hole’ line you describe, though, Jack. She’d perform on the Mall and give a tribute as part of the performance!