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It’s not turning into a good year for the Obama administration – in fact, it’s not been a good administration for the Obama administration – but I think that this is hardly an excuse for a Cabinet level official to use low-rent sexual epithets in public:
At the Florida Democratic Party State Convention over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis insulted members of the Tea Party, referring to the activists as “teab[*]ggers.” Teab[*]gger is a pejorative term used to refer to a certain sexual act. Liberal talk show hosts such as Rachel Maddow brought the phrase into the mainstream in 2009, using it as a tongue-in-cheek insult.
As reported by Tallahassee Democrat and Sunshine State News, after voicing her support for large federal programs, Solis warned, “I’ll be darned if I’m going to set that aside now because a few teab[*]ggers want to somehow muzzle my voice,” Solis said.
I’ve always been somewhat cynically amused at how liberal/Democrats/progressives could just somehow tell that when, say, the word ‘macaca’ was used it was clearly meant as a racial slur; but that the enthusiastic use of the term ‘teab*gger’ had no homophobic connotations at all. This despite the fact that tracking down the former required some time with a dictionary, while finding rather graphic examples of the latter’s use requires nothing more than a Xbox and access to multiplayer Halo 3… but that’s not the important thing. No, the important thing is that – according to the nice woman who I just talked to at the Department of Labor – complaints about alleged offensive and/or hate speech made by Department of Labor employees should be directed to the DoL’s Office of Inspector General Hotline at 800-347-4756, or via email at hotline(at)oig-dot-dol-dot-gov.
I mean, seriously: it’s one thing when representatives of private companies express hateful language designed to encourage anti-gay bigotry; distasteful as it is personally, certain types of trash behavior have to be tolerated. But the federal government has some extremely tough internal regulations on what its employees can and cannot say in an official or even quasi-official capacity. They must be held accountable to their own rules.
Moe Lane (crosspost)