To The Daily Sun,
An open letter to Ms. Denise Burke:
I sympathize with your discomfort with seeing Kia's breasts. Traditionally, we are all taught that women's breast should be kept covered in public.
When our forefathers wrote our Constitution, the people wisely insisted that one person's freedom of expression must prevail over other people's freedom from discomfort or offense.
Think what a horrible country this would be if people of color were restricted from eating at lunch counters because their presence made a Caucasian person uncomfortable. Or, if gay people were prohibited from holding hands in public because it made a straight person uncomfortable. Or worse yet, if people like you were prohibited from expressing intolerant views in letters to the editor because the letters offend tolerant people like me.
You may wish that the Constitution protected your right to be free from being made to feel uncomfortable in public but, fortunately for the rest of us, the fact is that it does not. On the contrary, our Constitution protects Kia's right to be top-free in public. For example, New York's highest court ruled that, under the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, women have the right to be top-free any place a man is allowed to be top-free (People v. Santorelli 1992). The U.S. Supreme Court would undoubtedly rule likewise.
Tolerance isn't always easy, but it is one of the things that make this country great and one of things your father and grandfather fought for.
Think about the things you value that may make other people uncomfortable and what it would be like for you if they were prohibited. Ms. Burke, please help make this a better country by giving serious thought to the negative effects of intolerance, and then maybe you will want to become more respectful of other people's values even though they differ from yours.
Incidentally, you may be interested to know that up until the 1930s men were prohibited from being top-free in public, presumably because their hairy chests offended people.
Fred W. Van Nest
- Category: Letters
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