Standing up to crude rhetoric

Photo courtesy of Bill Todd

There comes a time when we must stand up and say, “No, no more.” The time might be abolition of institutional slavery, extermination in 1930s Germany, legalized segregation in the American South, sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, or most relevant today — misogyny.

It is time to stand up and say, “No, no more.”

Simply, it is unacceptable for a candidate for President of the United States to speak such disgusting, despicable and hateful words about women. It is not acceptable to dismiss such language as “locker room talk.” It is not appropriate for a candidate to espouse actions that are clearly illegal assault and then justify those deeds as permissible because one is a “star.”

In the mid-19th century many people of faith rejected that slavery was tolerable. In pre-war Germany some people fled, some people spoke up against fascism and making scapegoats of a class of citizens, and many paid for this heroic stand with their lives. In the American South in which I grew up, good people began to realize that “it has always been this way” was no longer a justifiable  reason for institutional racism. Many of those people were shunned and suffered for their views which we now take as enlightened. In late 1990s Northern Ireland, after yet another senseless bombing, people on both sides concluded that the violence and systemic discrimination must end.

Today we are living in a crucial time of history, just like those in which we now wonder if our families were on the right side of history.

This is no longer a political issue, but an issue of human rights. Basic human rights. And men and women of good will must stand up.

Tech is such a better place than it was when I studied in the late ‘60s. There is higher quality and a vastly better reputation and ranking than those days.

But the main difference is the greatly increased presence of women in campus life, leadership roles and character. We are moving rapidly to the point of parity in the undergraduate
student body, paralleling the real world.

We must stand together with these women and reject with vigor the acceptance of any sense of a culture that dismisses illegality and incivility as “locker room banter.”

I encourage men in our society, and particularly the Tech family, to stand up and say “No, no more.” This is not a time to remain on the sidelines and shrug saying that this is just politics. It has gone far beyond that point.

We need to be on the right side of history. Now. It is the right thing to do.