I am ashamed. Not embarrassed, mortified or humiliated.
When Dr. Sally Jacobsen “invited” her students to rip the “Cemetery of Innocents” apart, they assaulted both Northern Right to Life’s beliefs and its right to express them.
Her and her students’ despicable actions jeopardized her legacy, her students’ futures and everyone’s First Amendment rights.
Not to mention Northern Kentucky University’s reputation. The story appeared on Fox News’s Web site and in several newspapers around the country.
But while Jacobsen’s actions sicken me, the viciously vitriolic reactions of some individuals is just as nauseating.
Conservative Web sites pounced on the story and decried Jacobsen as just another liberal. Many of the comments posted were attempts at one liners, which tried to be funny, but were just foolish and, quite often, vulgar. Some responses would be too obscene for even the raunchiest HBO special.
However, the most recurring claim is one that I, and many progressives, have endured. That Jacobsen’s actions prove that it’s the liberals, not conservatives, who are intolerant.
Michelle Malkin, an Asian-American pundit and columnist most famous for her approval of imprisoning innocent Japanese-Americans during World War II, wrote on her blog that this was “liberal tolerance at work again!”
Members of the popular right-wing message board, Freerepublic.com, regurgitated that same line over and over ad nauseam.
A trip to similar conservative message boards, such as conservativeunderground.com, showed them echoing Malkin’s ridiculous assertions.
Many conservatives seem to believe that liberals can’t stand another point of view and will attack, on sight, anyone who holds one.
To them, we liberals are the ones who are intolerant.
Even some responses on the Northerner’s Web site have been resonating the view that liberals only want the First Amendment to apply to them.
As usual, the conservatives are wrong.
Regardless of their feelings about abortion, NKU students and faculty have roundly proclaimed their disdain for Jacobsen’s behavior and their support for free speech.
Ask Northern Right to Life, the anti-abortion group that constructed the display.
Its president has received words of support from many individuals who, though they back abortion rights, felt an injustice had been done and now want to right a wrong.
They may not support what Northern Right to Life said, but they support its right to say it.
NKU’s Educators for Reproductive Freedom, whose members advocate abortion rights, wrote in a letter to Northern Right to Life that they “see the display as protected free speech.”
They added that we all must respect everyone’s opinions, regardless of whether we agree with them.
NKU’s President James Votruba reiterated that message. After expressing his distaste for Jacobsen’s behavior, Votruba praised the many campus organizations that have sent messages of support to Northern Right to Life.
Whether they advocate and oppose abortion rights, these groups have displayed the courtesy and respect that Jacobsen and her students did not.
I’ve heard some students describe Jacobsen’s conduct as inappropriate and disrespectful. I’d have to agree.
But I could say the same thing about some conservative bloggers.