What did he “get”? Not that John DePetro voices the thoughts of “the right”; sometimes he does, sometimes not.
Nor is it true, as Quiroa implies, that the thoughts of conservatives are dominated by racist and, presumably, other hateful impulses that they hide from the public by conforming to political correctness. [Edit: I should clarify here - nor do I think that DePetro is dominated by racist or hateful impulses.]
Quiroa is correct that “hate” or “hateful” speech, should not be silenced. On this point, he echoes the late Christopher Hitchens. Though he usually did so in the course of making the case against the criminalization of hate speech, not identical to the DePetro situation, Hitchens insisted (paraphrasing): let us hear them. Let them identify themselves and their hateful thinking by their own words. (Hitchens on this point, in his own, far more eloquent words.)
Most importantly to the matter at hand, Quiroa gets it that the target of DePetro’s insults was not all of womanhood, as Rhode Island’s public unions, in full, faux swoon, have lately started to insist. Quiroa writes:
He should send a written apology to the female union members he insulted.
Even so, in the framework of our democracy we all win with a DePetro.
That is correct. If DePetro chooses to make a written apology for the repulsive words he used, it is owed only to female members of the public unions who were protesting that Raimondo event, not all the women on the planet. Too many people, either willfully or stupidly, have missed that point completely. (If evidence is needed about DePetro’s lack of misogyny, remember how DePetro became the target of this effort to get him fired: it was in large part because he was defending a woman; namely, the General Treasurer of Rhode Island. This, of course, was preceded by his defense of Ed Commissioner Deborah Gist.)
Quiroa is to be applauded for his insight on that vital point and also for standing up for his own principles in the face of the criticism that he almost certainly knew would inevitably – but wrongly – follow his public comments.
As a member of the minority community, I despise “political correctness.” For one thing, political correctness gives bigots the opportunity not to show their true colors. By adhering to political correctness, racists and bigots filter their real feelings.
In Rhode Island there is one person who does not follow the norms of political correctness — WPRO talk-show host John DePetro.
I do not agree with 99 percent of what DePetro says on the radio. He recently used a poor choice of words when he referred to union protesters, including females, as “whores.” He should know better but his arrogance got the better of him. He should send a written apology to the female union members he insulted.
Even so, in the framework of our democracy we all win with a DePetro. The left and the center need to know what the right is thinking — and most importantly, saying — behind closed doors. DePetro says what the conservatives would never say in public as they conform to political correctness.
The writer is president of the Alliance for Guatemala.