How do you fire Juan Williams for expressing a common, if politically incorrect, perception? Personally, I’ve seen Muslims taken off planes as I’ve sat in Seat 10C. I pay attention in airports and other public places - many of us do. We’re not afraid, but we are aware; we’re not intimidated, but we are not blind to possibilities. Neither was Mr. Williams.
There has never been a question that Mr. Williams was fundamentally a liberal in his bones. He made me crazy more often than not. Every once in a while, he would cross the divide to a common-sense viewpoint that satisfied my interpretation of what common sense is. Once there, he demonstrated a willingness to accede to the idea that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it’s a duck.
Mr. Williams stood up to the “Oh, poor me, I’m just not responsible” mantra of black leadership; he castigated the culture of dependency fomented by this leadership and called for a new age of responsibility in the black community. He engaged the race issue with courage and intellectual integrity. He frequently was willing to follow clear logic. He was enough of a chameleon to be interesting, yet moderate enough on occasion to hold my attention. Most important, Mr. Williams was courageous enough to win my admiration.
There is nothing here that exposes Mr. Williams for anything other than what he unabashedly is and what we all knew him to be. NPR stands exposed as intolerant, politically correct, shallow in its justification for the firing and unworthy of public funding. There’s no accountability but a lack of balance and sensitivities well outside mainstream America.
NPR should have a plethora of problems, especially in light of its massive funding request. There are problems with the Congressional Black Caucus, problems with free-speech conservatives, problems with the media in general, problems with moderate Democrats, problems with Republicans who believe in the exchange of ideas, problems with people who appreciate intellectual courage and problems with people who are just “nice guys,” like Mr. Williams.
Shame on NPR for its double standards. Shame on its commitment to political correctness and, in all likelihood, shame on it for firing Mr. Williams for reasons other than those stated publicly.
Port St. Lucie, Fla.