Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Opinion

Ruth: Rubio’s outrage over four-letter word is misplaced

It doesnít take much to get indignant these days. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubioís dainty sensibilities were riled recently because Selene San Felice dropped a four-letter word not once but twice on national television.

Rubio denounced San Feliceís outburst by tweeting: "Sign of our times Ö the F word is now routinely used in news stories, tweets, etc. Itís not even F*** anymore. Who made that decision???"

San Felice made that decision, putting her University of Tampa journalism degree to good use.

While the reporterís remarks were ahem, indelicate, they occurred while she was being interviewed by CNNís Anderson Cooper and detailing last weekís murder of five of her colleagues at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis.

San Feliceís comments came as she told Cooper she was going to need more than the obligatory "thoughts and prayers" piffle offered up by tone-deaf politicians like Rubio who are beholden to the National Rifle Association. Rubioís self-righteous case of the vapors was a thing of hypocritical beauty. After all, during a 2016 Republican presidential primary event he engaged in a juvenile back and forth with Donald Trump over the relative size of the candidatesí genitalia. Now there was a Lincoln/Douglas debate moment for you.

Five people were murdered by a deranged gunman harboring a grudge against the Capital Gazette, and all Rubio could get worked up over was a survivor of the mayhem in a moment of emotional distress channeling her inner David Mamet?

Welcome to a parallel universe of misplaced umbrage.

A narcissist now sits in the White House, his tiny fingers wafting over his Twitter account belittling prisoners of war, Gold Star families and the nationís more steadfast allies. In his world, North Koreaís Kim Jong-un and Russiaís Vladimir Putin are pals while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is consigned to hell.

Let us also not forget "Access Hollywood."

Trumpís administration has detained thousands of children ripped from the arms of parents who have entered the United States illegally. To him, the U.S. Constitution is more of an irritant than Stormy Daniels.

And yet Trumpís supporters are more incensed that his press secretary, who has defended an administration built on a facade of falsehoods, was refused service in a restaurant.

We have entered the politics of Lewis Carroll. With apologies: Beware the Jabberwock, my son. The tweets that bite, the insults that catch. And the big shiny nuclear button, that flickers, too.

Feckless cowards hiding behind their keyboards have made death threats against the Capital Gazette and celebrated the murder of the newspaperís employees. No word yet from Rubio on whether he is offended. Perhaps the trolls threatening the paper had the decency not to engage in any off-color language.

A president canít walk back his accusation that American journalists are "enemies of the people" as if the First Amendment was a socialist plot by the Founding Fathers. There must be a way to restore at least a scintilla of rationality to our civic discourse. And since it is obviously not going to come from Washington, perhaps it could begin here in Florida. Youíre right. Dream on.

It could start with Gov. Rick Scott, by admitting that while he might disagree with Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the incumbent isnít a used Ford Pinto. Too challenging?

It could begin with Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum admitting while former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham cast some conservative votes, this hardly rises to the level of bloomer-wadding betrayal that disqualifies her as they battle for the Democratic nomination for governor.

It could begin with U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, a Republican gubernatorial candidate, acknowledging merely because Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam was less of a Trump bootlicker, he is no less a conservative.

Can we save the moral outrages for the big stuff? Not a four-letter word by the grief-stricken, or who is a bigger partisan toady?

Perhaps five dead newspaper employees and all the other victims of gun violence ought to be the black-draped gold standard for what is worthy of (that word) offense taken.

Comments
Editorial: Warren takes positive step to advance justice in Hillsborough

Editorial: Warren takes positive step to advance justice in Hillsborough

The Conviction Review Unit follows through on a campaign pledge to review past conviction cases.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Editorial: Tone down the rhetoric, focus on counting votes

Editorial: Tone down the rhetoric, focus on counting votes

President Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott should stop making unfounded claims of voter fraud.
Published: 11/13/18
Editorial: Get Hillsborough transit priorities in shape

Editorial: Get Hillsborough transit priorities in shape

Hillsborough County scored a historic win this month when voters approved a one-cent sales tax to pay for transportation improvements. The $9 billion or more it will generate over the next 30 years should transform mobility across the region and impr...
Published: 11/12/18
Editorial: Deadly danger of wrong-way driving

Editorial: Deadly danger of wrong-way driving

The state is taking action to minimize wrong-way crashes
Published: 11/11/18
Updated: 11/12/18
Editorial: Makeover on the Pinellas School Board

Editorial: Makeover on the Pinellas School Board

Three veterans depart, clearing the way for new faces
Published: 11/09/18
Updated: 11/12/18

Editorial: Count every vote

Elections have two parts: You vote, then count the vote. Floridians did their part by turning out in record numbers in Tuesday’s midterm elections. Now it falls to local election supervisors to ensure that every vote is accurately counted.
Published: 11/09/18
Updated: 11/12/18
Editorial: A progressive shift in Hillsborough

Editorial: A progressive shift in Hillsborough

Tuesday’s elections should create a more constructive climate in Hillsborough politics, easing the social wars in recent years between Democrats and Republicans that too often resulted in polarizing urban and suburban constituencies.
Published: 11/09/18
Editorial: A smart plan for helping mom-and-pops

Editorial: A smart plan for helping mom-and-pops

St. Petersburg would limit the size of storefronts on two commercial corridors
Published: 11/09/18

Editorial: Good houseguests

A donation of furniture to schools shows how thoughtful little things can make a big difference
Published: 11/09/18
A New York Times editorial: A patriot returns

A New York Times editorial: A patriot returns

His sacrifice is why we vote
Published: 11/08/18