“I raised my kids to be independent, to be strong, to be free thinkers. If she wants to tweet her opinion about Governor Brownback, I say for her to go for it and I stand totally behind her”
What Rush Marcus at the once-great Washington Post thinks:
Emma Sullivan, you’re lucky you’re not my daughter. (Dangerous sentence, I know: My daughters might agree.)
If you were my daughter, you’d be writing that letter apologizing to Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for the smartalecky, potty-mouthed tweet you wrote after meeting with him on a school field trip.
Ms. Marcus lives in Washington, D.C., a city known for the Purity of Its Values and the Sweetness of its Speech, so perhaps it should not be surprising that Emma Sullivan's use of the word "suck" has given Marcus a case of the flutters. As Charles Pierce puts it:
Unless you are a nun, if you are over the age of 12, and you use the phrase "potty-mouthed" in a way that is not ironic, you should be removed gently from any mode of mass communication, handed a cookie and a glass of warm milk and a tranquilizer the size of an elephant's d***, (ed note: this is a family blog) and gently laid down on soft cushions until a bed can be found for you at the Premature Fogies Home.
Egads! What kind of journalist lectures the country on how they should have respect for authority?
Some of her classmates are giving Emma Sullivan a hard time. She's been on the receiving end of some bullying at her high school, Shawnee Mission East in suburban Kansas City. She's been called a "whore" a few times.
Why do people do that? It's an attempt to sully and tarnish someone reputation. Some people think that hurling a sexually-loaded charge at someone does that. (What it does instead is reveal the default thought patterns of the one who makes the charge.)
Emma seems to be bearing up. If you're going to be in the public eye, a thick skin can come in handy, and Emma seems to have it. She notes that her principal, Karl Kravitz, has also seen his share of negative attention, and says she's received good support from her close friends.
“It’s hard to deal with, but my sister keeps sending me emails of national, and even international, support,” she told POLITICO. “It’s just interesting that people who know me aren’t being supportive. I think it has a lot to do with jealousy. But it’s not about me, it’s about the issues, and I don’t know if they comprehend that."
“God often speaks to the church more directly from outside the church, through those who are enemies of religion and Christianity, than within the church, through those who are official representatives of the churches.”
Paul Tillich, Perspectives on 19th and 20th Century Protestant Theology, ed. Carl E. Braaten (New York, NY: Haper & Row, 1967), 236.
Why is the DNC attacking Romney, and why now? The thinking inside the administration must be that they figure Romney is a greater threat to them than Gingrich.
Is that really true? Mitt Romney is the weakest "front-runner" in history. He's sitting at 25%, at most, in his party, and the other 75% have done everything they can to send the message that they don't want Romney.
Whenever the new conservative hero--Bachmann, Perry, Cain--has flamed out, none of that candidate's support has gone to Romney. It's always gone to the next conservative "heart-throb of the week," as if casting about for someone, anyone, to come and take the nomination away from Romney.
The DNC ads are quite effective. They make a great case for Romney flip-floppery. Any one of Romney's GOP competitors might have run them. The GOP base's main argument with Romney is precisely that he's not a "true believer" and has been on all sides of all issues, depending on the climate of the particular times.
So why is the DNC doing the GOP base a favor by spending Democratic money to make their own case for them?
They figure they can beat a hard right-winger easier than they can Romney? Not so fast. A Romney nomination would cut GOP turn-out by at least 5%. Worry about the one who excites the base, not depresses it.
What Governor Brownback said: “My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms. I enjoyed speaking to the more than 100 students who participated in the Youth in Government Program at the Kansas Capitol. They are our future.I also want to thank the thousands of Kansas educators who remind us daily of our liberties, as well as the values of civility and decorum. Again, I apologize for our over-reaction.”
What Governor Brownback should have said:
Dear Emma Sullivan: I take full responsibility for having put you in such an undeserved position. First, I should never have allowed tax-paid staff to involve themselves in what is really none of the business of government, the monitoring of social media.
Second, I should never have allowed my staff to contact school officials to complain about statements protected by the First Amendment to our Constitution being made by a young adult who was obviously exercising those First Amendment rights.
Third, I should have picked up the telephone as soon as I realized my errors and given you this apology directly and personally. Then I should have called the Principal of your school and told him that we had made an error and asked him to help me atone for my errors by assuring you that you owed me no apology whatsoever.
To prove to you that I have learned from my mistakes, I intend to send a copy of this to every media outlet and to your school. I will also direct my staff to attend classes at a University, on their own time, dealing with the Constitutions of the United States of America and of Kansas, paying particular heed to the Amendments to those documents. I will also attend the classes. Again, I apologize to you and accept full responsibility for the wrongs committed. Sincerely, Sam Brownback Governor of Kansas
Mullinville, Kansas, population 255, is also the home of M.T. Liggett, folk-artist. He makes sculptures out of whatever he can find, most typically old car parts. The sculptures combine cartoon-ish characters with social commentary.
The Hutchinson (KS) News reports that Liggett plans to immortalize Kansas Gov. Brownback and Karl Krawitz, the school principal who lectured Emma Sullivan for an hour and "ordered" her to apologize to Brownback.
Liggett, who is 80 years old, said he planned to have something up soon which will refer to Krawitz as a “mental midget.” He has in mind something about 8 feet tall, and related to the rear section of a horse.
“There are two rules in life,” Liggett said. “You don’t get in a fight with a skunk, and you never get in a fight with an old lady or a young woman.”
He also plans to construct artwork that represents the governor on the issue. So far, he has no firm ideas, only that it will be about 10 feet tall. He had back surgery recently and said it would take a little longer to get the metal cartoon totems constructed.
This falls in the "mistakes were made" category of apologies. In this latest incarnation of the genre, after a week long media firestorm finally got his attention, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback decides to "apologize" by blaming his staff for over-reacting to Emma Sullivan's now-famous tweet.
"My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms. I enjoyed speaking to the more than 100 students who participated in the Youth in Government Program at the Kansas Capitol. They are our future. I also want to thank the thousands of Kansas educators who remind us daily of our liberties, as well as the values of civility and decorum. Again, I apologize for our over-reaction."
He doesn't say anybody did anything wrong. He didn't apologize to the taxpayers for having his minions scouring the internet for anything less than gushing praise. He said nothing about tattling on the young woman to school authorities.
Instead, he bloviates for awhile on free speech, then can't seem to let the thing go without tossing a verbal elbow at Emma Sullivan.
Note that he wants to thank the educators who remind us of our liberties "as well as the values of civility and decorum." The stated response of the Governor's office to Emma's tweet in the first place was that it was "disrespectful."
It looks like the Governor is still trying to get in the last word, even with political skunk smell still fouling the air around him.
Also, the school now says that Emma Sullivan doesn't have to write an apology, which works out well since she already said she wasn't going to.
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, ‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you withwater; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
Translation: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, son of God. Just as it was written in Isaiah the prophet, "Behold, I am sending my messenger to your face who will prepare your way, a sound crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight his paths." John, the one baptizing, happened in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the release of sins." And all of the region of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. And the John was clothed in camel hair, and leaven leather around his hip and eating locusts and wild honey. And he proclaimed saying, 'The one mightier than me is coming after me. I am surely not fit to stoop down and loose the strap of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you in a holy spirit.'"