In this world there are genuine human beings who care about their fellow man no matter what. They pray for or send well wishes to those in need, regardless of common ground or similar beliefs or ideas, and they don’t let political pettiness get in the way of decency.
And then there are people like Jonathan Graubart. The political science professor at San Diego State University published a Facebook post on Friday (now deleted) expressing his anger and dismay at the fact that people of all political persuasions wished Senator John McCain (R-AZ) well as he faces cancer.
“McCain is a war criminal and, more to the point. someone who as a politician has championed horrifying actions and been lousy on state commitment to public health,” said Graubart, an associate professor of political science. “I have no idea what he is like on the personal level and don’t care.”
I’m willing to bet you’re thinking what I’m thinking: Graubart is a jerk – or maybe you used even stronger language. You’re not alone. In fact, Graubart received an outpouring of negative comments on his post (apparently enough to delete it eventually), including one that gets right to the point:
One Facebook user identifying as a student at SDSU called him out, saying, “Let’s be real. You are annoyed by the outpouring of support for John McCain in the wake of his cancer diagnosis because you don’t like him.”
San Diego State University issued a statement in which the school tried to distance itself from Graubart’s terrible rant.
SDSU does not have a social media policy for faculty and staff. As a public institution, we do not and cannot regulate the private speech of students, faculty or staff. However, that should not imply the university’s endorsement of any particular viewpoint.
I would like to think that conservatives wouldn’t behave this way, but in our increasingly tribal and divisive culture that’s not the case anymore. Thoughtful people of all political stripes should call Jonathan Graubart out for his lack of decency, even though he has every right to say what was on his mind. The great thing about free speech is that we’re also free to call him a jerk.