The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution denouncing [Maher's] use of the slur ... Eight supervisors co-sponsored the measure, which was taken up on an emergency basis without objection. County Executive Scott Walker signed the resolution immediately upon receiving it, said Steve Mokrohisky, Walker's deputy chief of staff.
Six Milwaukee-area state senators and representatives, all Democrats, sent a letter to [American] on Monday critical of [Maher] and urging the station to "remove his bigotry from the airwaves." It was signed by State Reps. Pedro Colon, Leon Young and Polly Williams, and state Sens. G. Spencer Coggs, Julie Lassa and Sen.-elect Lena Taylor.
It's one thing when private citizens voice their opinions to a private business over who it chooses to sponsor. It's something else entirely when government gets in on the act.
Oh...wait...I apologize. I suppose my highly-intentional editing of the piece above might be a bit misleading. After all, it's actually from a 2004 Journal-Sentinel article on pulled sponsorship and government response resulting from Mark Belling using an offensive term.
UPDATE: Commentors (all two of 'em so far) are questioning whether the difference between the types of bigotry expressed in these two scenarios could justify one response over the other. Their point is that being a "wetback" is the result of someone's birth and not a choice while being a Roman Catholic is a choice.
Does this mean one type of bigotry is acceptable while another is not?
Ultimately, the distinction in the case I'm presenting is irrelevant. People have a right to express their opinions and others have a right to challenge them. When a person expressing his or her opinion is sponsored by a corporate entity, private citizens have a right to voice their distaste and request that the corporate entity no longer sponsor the individual or his or her opinion. In turn, the corporation chooses to agree with one side or the other.
For them, it's merely a matter of public relations.
Like it or not, having racist opinions is not illegal. Nor is being a critic of Catholicism. Now if someone applied their opinion to, for instance, hiring an employee, that would be a problem. But that didn't happen in either of these cases. As the saying goes, opinions are like assholes: everyone has one and they all stink. And in this great country of ours, everyone has a right to stink up the room with their opinions as much as they so desire, which is exactly why I take issue with the government sticking its nose into the Belling issue. Private citizens have a right to complain about the stench. The government needs to hold its nose and accept it.
The fact is that people complained to Belling's sponsors and they took action accordingly. And Belling's critics were happy. Now, people are complaining to Maher's sponsor and American is doing as it sees fit.
The system works. Unless you want it permanently broken (meaning the next time you want it to work for you, well, it won't), stop complaining.
And for the record, no, I don't believe one type of bigotry is more acceptable than the other. Were I to believe that, I could justify a whole slew of things people simply wouldn't like.