An Inalienable Right to Not Be Insulted By Public Servants?

Having lived in a few states, I find that the Massachusetts Legislature is actually one of the more competent legislative bodies in the U.S. Mind you, that’s mostly damning with faint praise. Nonetheless, we are typically spared the routine legislative embarrassments that occur in other states (of course, at this point, who would want to be House speaker, as it seems to be a guarantee that you’ll wind up in jail).

There’s a bill, H.2196, that would make “it unlawful and a violation of oath-of-office for any sworn law officers, i.e., police officers, state police, correctional officers, court officers, environment police, sheriff deputies, or any other sworn law officer to use or engage in the use thereof, during, or in the line of or course of duty language which cast a negative reflection toward an individual’s race, color, ethnic origin, religion, economic status nor any other category of negative stereotyping.”

Not a bad sentiment. Unfortunately, there’s the preamble, which opens up a can of whereas:

Whereas, citizens have a God-given inalienable right not to be insulted by public servants whose compensation is provided by tax;

Really? An inalienable right? Because there have been times I wish officials would be a little more insulting. For there are fucking morons, and they walk among us. Someone needs to tell them they’re being idiots, and I can’t do it all by my wee lonesome. There are plenty of other ways to frame this legislation, but inalienable right to not be insulted isn’t one of them.

It will be interesting to see if this gets anywhere.

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4 Responses to An Inalienable Right to Not Be Insulted By Public Servants?

  1. george.w says:

    “It will be interesting to see if this gets anywhere.”

    Egad, I hope not. Earlier this week I admonished a student to get off the stairs before texting, and I thought he was going to blow a gasket. Next we’ll have people feeling insulted if they are told any commonsense thing, and filing a lawsuit.

  2. delagar says:

    Hah, yes. Because that’s a pretty wide net. “Insult” and “whose compensation is provided by tax.” I insult my students all the time by pointing out what idiot things they have said in their essays, for instance.

    I mean, I do it politely enough in my opinion. But they go away affronted, some of them.

  3. Min says:

    The preamble does not really matter. What does matter is that not all insults would be prohibited. A fucking moron is not a stereotype. 😉

    While I am generally opposed to PC language, I think that it would be a good nudge for authorities, while on duty, to avoid stereotyping. Our words do affect our thoughts and attitudes.

    In the 19th century, part of the job of the police was to keep “all those others”, as Nixon put it, in their place. Stereotyping was part of the job. Well, folks, all those others are us now.

  4. joemac53 says:

    I have had students tell me “I was told there is no such thing as a stupid question!”
    When I stopped laughing I had a teachable moment with them.

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