Certainly, individuals and organizations are allowed to have their own opinions – and they are allowed to voice them. That is what makes America great. However, there are times when people and organizations should use a bit of restraint and common decency when voicing those opinions – and the company promoting the movie Sick and Sicker should understand this.
This company recently put up an advertisement in the Clarendon Metro station that is aimed at the Obama administration. The advertisement shows opposition to Obama’s health care plan and says, “Barack Obama wants politicians and bureaucrats to control American’s entire health care system. Go to hell Barack.”
Congressman Jim Moran from Northern Virginia wrote to the Metro to complain about their placement of the advertisement. In response, WMATA issued a statement saying that the advertisement was already ruled as protected under the First Amendment and that the Metro Authority doesn’t censor their ad choices.
As they wrote in their statement,
"WMATA does not endorse the advertising on our system, and ads to not reflect the position of the Authority.”
To his credit, Congressman Jim Moran wrote in response,
"I am disappointed by WMATA's defense of this inappropriate advertisement. If their current advertising guidelines do not prohibit profane advertisements on taxpayer-funded property, then WMATA should take the initiative and update them. Profanity has no place in the public forum.
He continued, quite sensibly to say,"The specific language in the WMATA-approved ad that should be removed is not political, it's profane. It defames the President of the United States in a way that coarsens the public discourse. All Americans have the right to make their voice heard under the First Amendment. But when we are talking about an advertisement on tax-payer funded facilities, as is the case with Metro, it should meet the minimum standards of propriety. I repeat my call on WMATA to exercise appropriate judgment and remove this offensive ad."
Time will tell if the Metro responds, although it seems that they’ve already offered their only response. Certainly, discourse is healthy and productive. Nasty and offensive discourse, however, seems to have little place in the public forum. It’s curious, however, that Congressman Jim Moran took issue with the Metro for displaying the ad, rather than with the company that produced it.