Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Southwest Airlines, "Fuck", & 'progressives'

It's amazing how some progressives' values are so extreme that they seem to validate the religious Right's argument that the Left is out of the 'mainstream'. On BlueOregon.com, the author, Kari Chisholm, and many commentators seem to defend the lewd behavior of a Southwest Airlines passenger, Lorrie Heasley. According to PortlandTribune and other accounts, Heasley chose to wear a political t-shirt with the word "fuck" printed on it. Southwest asked her to cover the shirt which she complied. However, later the cover supposedly fell off. So, Southwest asked her to remove the shirt, turn it inside out, or leave the plane during a stop over in Reno. Heasley decided to throw a fit and left the plane. Heasley makes several silly and contradictory arguments. First, she left the plane only after she claims Southwest promised to refund her ticket. Secondly, she claims her freedom of speech rights were violated. Thirdly, she tries to relate her supposedly violated rights to the rights of the Iraqi people being violated (or some other argument). If this were a free speech issue, as Heasley claims, then why would it matter that Southwest promised to refund her ticket? Is she that easily bought off? Of course, this isn't a free speech issue and Southwest is under no requirement to protect her freedom of speech. She failed to comply with a reasonable request and was given two opportunities to comply. Southwest should not have to refund her ticket because she chose not to comply with policies that all other customers are asked to comply with. What is interesting is that the Tuesday incident was pick-up so quickly by the media which seems to suggest that someone actively publicized the incident - probably Ms. Heasley or her lawyer. I e-mailed the author of the PortlandTribune article, Todd Murphy, as to how the Tribune became aware of the story so quickly. Although I agree with the overall political statement Ms. Heasley's t-shirt made, I disagree with the method ("fuck") and forum (airliner) she chose. Her immature and rude behavior does nothing to unite or persuade people. What is more disturbing is that some liberals/progressives/Democrats/etc. seem to be defending her behavior. No wonder we are seen as being directionless and without values. Revised and edited 10/11/2005 @ 11:30 AM

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