Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Can "Teasing" Go Too Far?

A James Taranto story in the Chicago Daily Observer reports that former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has been convicted on 17 of 20 counts of corruption.  Mr. Taranto also brings our attention to a NewsBusters.org report by Tom Blumer.  Mr. Blumer notes that AP wire services failed to specify that the former governor of Illinois was a member of the Democratic Party.

Mr. Taranto points out an interesting discrepancy.  He references stories on the conviction of former California congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham that prominently featured Mr. Cunningham as a Republican.  There is a clear difference in the manner in which the two political figures have been portrayed in our culture, and that discrepancy is getting hard to ignore.

I mention that it is “getting hard to ignore” because many Americans still find it convenient to brush aside “the discrepancy.”

An anonymous commenter on my post about the movie “Julie & Julia” wrote that the differing treatment is nothing special: It is simply a case of “Republicans who don’t like being teased.”

Well, I suppose the significance of “the teasing” depends on whether you are the one being teased.  Do the constituents of Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen see his political speech as teasing?  Does the treatment of Sarah Palin make one think she is being teased?  Do our courts issue restraining orders for teasing?

Teasing can turn into bullying, and bullying can escalate into harassment.  When harassment turns to political violence, we take note.  It becomes “hard to ignore.”

Here’s hoping that 2011 is the year Americans stop ignoring “the discrepancy,” and start honing their cultural awareness.
UPDATE 7/13/2011:
Never mind about that political violence link...
A jury has ruled the SEIU members are not guilty.

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