To the Editor,
Over the past several days I have heard and read negative comments about Saturday’s Women’s March from some people, including elected officials in our state and nation. Our own newly elected commissioner of Insurance commented on all the “fat women” who marched. One of our state senators questioned the intelligence of the marchers, using an inane “lard” comment. Several state officials from Vice President Mike Pence’s home state joined in, with one Indiana state official saying that those women were too ugly to have anyone sexually assault them. All of these officials identify as conservative Christian Republicans.
When some public backlash arose, each made similar excuses — it was just “a joke,” it was unintentional, it was a momentary lapse of judgment. Two of the most common justifications were that they were simply exercising their First Amendment rights to speak freely, and they were reacting to being offended by some of the marcher’s words, signs, and manner of dress. I wonder if these elected officeholders were as offended and outraged by the profane T-shirts, signs, and chants at the Trump rallies?
I agree that each of them has the same rights of free speech that we all have in America, but freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences. Public officials are elected to represent their constituents equally, even those that they might deem unattractive or disagreeable. Those constituents have the right to criticize their elected officials, and to replace them in the next election.
Proverbs 29:2 says: “When the righteous rule, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” When rulers say wicked things, people groan. They also write letters, send emails, make phone calls, post on social media, march, protest, and vote.
The Women’s March was not about Hillary Clinton losing. It was about Donald Trump winning. The March highlighted the rights of women to be free to make their own decisions, to be treated with equal respect, and to be safe from discrimination and abuse. Our new president has not demonstrated that he supports those rights, and has already taken steps to infringe on them. I believe he will continue to face similar opposition as long as he inhabits the Oval Office.