National Public Radio is facing the most serious threat to the 'public' part of its identity since Newt Gingrich s days as speaker, thanks to a resurgent, tea-party-inspired Republican House with budget cuts on its mind and recent stumbles that have left the broadcaster vulnerable to its ideological critics on the right.
Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison made his name as the first Muslim elected to Congress. It was therefore all but obligatory for him to weigh in on the firing of Juan Williams from NPR as a result of Williams's expression of his feelings on Fox News about seeing air passengers dressed in "Muslim garb," as he did last week on Ed Schultz's MSNBC show.
If they cannot defund NPR, you can bet they will not reverse Obamacare. The least significant aspect of NPR s canning of Juan Williams is#...#Juan Williams. The important thing is what the world should start looking like after November 2. Let s say you were a million dollars in debt and you didn t have a clue, much less a plan, about how you were going to pay. But you saw this really nice chandelier and decided it would be just perfect in your dining room. If you pulled out the Mastercard and charged up a few grand for this ornate luxury, we would not call that fine living. We would call it grossly irresponsible, especially if it means you can t pay the mortgage or the kids tuition once the binge ends and the piper demands his due.
Liberals tend to prefer Thomas Jefferson s vision of religious liberty to the one actually enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution, so here s one for them, from his bill for religious freedom in Virginia: To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical. NPR has fired Juan Williams for the sin of confessing that he sometimes feels fear when he sees a Muslim in obvious religious garb seated near him on an airplane.
If Juan Williams is outside the bounds of polite discourse, then those bounds have become too constrictive. We should have known about Juan Williams long ago. The signs of a simmering bigotry were always there. The political commentator wrote the book Eyes on the Prize: America s Civil Rights Years, 1954 1965. He followed that up with an admiring biography of Thurgood Marshall. Then, more books on the African-American religious experience, historically black colleges, and black farmers.