COMMENTARY | Americans have the right to vote. And Americans have the right to free speech. But an ad sprawled across the wall of a DC Metro station in the midst of the 2012 presidential campaign has gone too far.
According to AFP, the ad begins with a lament about Obama's health care plan and end with telling the president of the United States -- addressed by his first name -- to "go to hell."
When did we lose our civility? The advertisement is for a documentary about what happens to health care when the government runs it. I realize that the makers of the documentary adamantly disagree with Obama's health care plan. And there is much to adamantly disagree with on the issue. But where's the respect -- not just for another human being, but for a human being who happens to have been elected by the collective "we" to the highest office in the land? Speaking out in disagreement of his policies? Yes, that's allowed and that's a necessary thing. Placing a message on the wall of the metro station telling the man to go to hell? Not OK in my book.
According to the general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority says that WMATA advertising cannot be declined based on political content, so therefore it will remain. Well how about declining it because it is a personal attack? Is it all right with WMATA for me to buy an ad that, in large letters, tells my neighbor to go to hell? Is it all right with them if I purchase an ad that calls anyone else out by name and tells them to go to hell? Has it ever been all right to purchase a large ad space for the purpose of telling any other president in the nation's history to go to go to hell? No, probably not. Why? Because it's inflammatory and personal and it reflects poorly not just on the buyer of the ad, but on the metro station, the people who utilize it and the society as a whole.