Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's all about freedom of speech

The grandstanding displayed by Lancaster County's republican House delegation protesting a speech by William Ayers at Millersville University is disturbing. In a co-signed letter to the Intelligencer Journal, Feb. 27, 2009, Reps. Bear, Boyd, Creighton, Cutler, Denlinger, Hinkernell, and True (Intell Readers' Forum, Feb. 27, 2009) demonstrate a level of political self-aggrandizement that would make a seasoned Washington pol green.

The legislators commit the embarrassing straw man fallacy of comparing Ayers -- a distinguished educator with an Ivy League doctorate, whose anti-war activism 40 years ago targeted buildings, not people -- to convicted murderer, Ted Kaczynski and abortion clinic bomber, Eric Rudolph, and manage to miss the point entirely.

This issue is about a university deciding which speakers to bring to its campus. That is its role. The role of legislators is to make and pass laws that help and protect the people of the Commonwealth. What law are they intending to write? One that requires university speakers passing through several House and Senate committees for approval? Will they draft legislation to withhold state funds for state universities that have speakers on their blacklist? Give me a break.

The grandiosity of these "representatives" is alarming. They proclaim: "This is about right and wrong." Pardon? These are our arbiters of what is "right and wrong"? I think they might be overstepping their job description here, just a bit.

Finally, there is the laugh-out-loud, disingenuous statement of the year: "This has nothing to do with freedom of speech or politics." Ha! Their letter has absolutely everything to do with politics, and that really is wrong.