Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the tag “free speech”

Me, Colin, and the Constitution

Colin Kaepernick and I have never met, although we have some things in common.  He is an NFL quarterback  and I am an NFL unsigned free agent.  We share many of the same physical attributes.  (See post entitled Quarterback Material).  If I meet him at an NFL activity, such as a game or NFL Player Association meeting or party, I would probably like him.

Watching him sit during the national anthem, I don’t like him so much.  It seems disrespectful.  Actually, he himself says it is intended to be disrespectful.  He says:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

He has the right to say whatever he wants, of course.  The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech.

We Americans have other amendments in our Constitution too.  The Fourteenth Amendment says:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

I, like most of you, am opposed to oppression and racial prejudice, and unfairness of any kind.  It appears that the authors of the Constitution and Bill of Rights were opposed to the same things to which Colin is opposed.  Not all the same things, of course.  As far as I know, they were not ashamed of our flag.  We probably did not have a national anthem yet.

I, like Colin, and all of you other Americans, have the right to freedom of speech.  That includes the right for me to say I don’t agree with Colin’s symbolic  speech by him sitting during the national anthem.  I don’t agree with disrespecting our flag.

I think his sitting does not make his message clear.  Many football fans who see him refusing to honor the flag have not read his words of explanation.  I have read those words and still do not understand.  He himself does not seem too oppressed.  He could do more to improve our nation by positive example than simply pointing out the obvious that racism still exists, despite such progress as the election of a mixed race President, who has appointed two black Attorneys General.  There is racism even in Denver, where we have a black mayor and a black chief of police.  My point is that, despite progress in fighting institutional racism by changing laws to ban discrimination, there are people who are still prejudiced.  Ironically, Colin is one of them, apparently, because he has judged from afar whether cases in which he did not participate are being handled under due process of law.  Colorblind law.

Colin seems to be saying that Black people have been killed by police who, in his opinion, should not get paid leave during an investigation because he already knows somehow that the police were not justified in using deadly force.  Maybe he doesn’t want the police to get due process of law per the 14th amendment.  Maybe he wants to be the one to decide from afar, without participating in the legal process.

Colin’s example of sitting has nevertheless influenced me to emulate him.  My wife has requested that I mow the lawn.  I mean no disrespect towards her, but it does not seem right for me to blissfully mow the grass when there is crime in our nation.  Sure, we have  passed laws against crime, but people still commit crimes.  Until there is no crime, I refuse to mow.  Oh, and until there is world peace too.  I will make the world a better place by sitting.  It would be selfish on my part to mow during these troubled times.

Would someone please explain my constitutional rights to my wife?

 

Honest Abe, Free Speech, Hot Topics

Abraham Lincoln was frustrated by political correctness.  He encouraged free speech.  He did not duck an unpopular, divisive issue.

Slavery, thank goodness, is no longer a political issue in America because it was ended in the Civil War.  However, before the Civil War, it was a hot topic.  The quote below is something  Abraham Lincoln said in a campaign speech that he gave in 1860.   He chided the politically correct of his day who avoided talking about ending slavery because it made some listeners, well, uncomfortable.

Let us apply a few tests.  You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it.  Is there anything else that you think wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as a wrong?  Why are you so careful, so tender of this one wrong and no other?  You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no place where you will allow [slavery] to be even called wrong!  We must not call it wrong in the Free States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the Slave States because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into the Tract Society or the other societies, because those are such unsuitable places, and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong!

Substitute for slavery whatever hot topic you choose.  What do you think is wrong (or right)? Abortion?  Gay marriage?  Capital punishment?  Gun control?  Obamacare?  Illegal immigration?  Legal marijuana?  Prayer in the schools?  Christmas decorations in public places?  Military involvement in the Mideast?  Budget cuts?  Budget increases?  Fracking?  Twerking?  You may, under your First Amendment rights as an American, say that you believe something is wrong.  Others may disagree with you.  And vice versa.  We will call that free speech.  It is not just for liberals nor just for conservatives nor just for “the politically correct.”

By the way, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty can participate in the public forum as well.

Everyone should be allowed to speak their piece — with the possible exception of Billy Ray Cyrus.  That is where I draw the line!

Miley Cyrus and Duck Dynasty

I am using this post to exercise my constitutional right to free speech.

Recently, Miley Cyrus performed in a manner known as twerking, which appears to be simulated sexual acts, and swung nude on a wrecking ball.  Although she got some flak for it from people whose morals were offended, her performances were certainly not censored and she continues to perform.

Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty has been indefinitely suspended from that reality TV show for, get this, something that he did not say on the TV show but what he said in an interview by GQ magazine.  We have been told by the administrators of political correctness that practicing various sexual acts in privacy, yet talking about it (which is not so private), should not jeopardize a person’s job.  Imagine the hubbub that would occur if a gay actor was fired for saying he is gay.  Now try saying you are not gay  — that is where we draw the line!

Phil talked about sex acts that he does not practice or condone, and he is in big trouble.  For what?  For saying what he believes.

By the way, he was not self-righteous.  If you read the entire quote, it includes him talking about his own past with remorse for what he considers sins.  He even calls himself white trash.

He also talked about working with blacks.  He said that he did not himself witness discrimination against them.  He did not say there was no discrimination.  But even if he said racist and homophobic things, does he not have the right to say what he thinks or experienced as white trash?

It seems inconsistent and hypocritical for the political correctness police to defend the free speech rights of everyone except those who do not agree with them and are therefore not politically correct.

Our Founders were wise in adding the Bill of Rights to our Constitution.   The right to free speech is not conditioned on whether it offends anyone, and especially not on whom is offended.   You can speak in favor of or against Christianity and you can speak in favor of or against Islam.  You can speak against abortion and you can speak advocating abortion, or the death penalty, or gay marriage, or ANYTHING.  You don’t have to be in the majority.  The right is more important if you are not in the majority.

If I was the lawyer advising A & E, the network that makes lots of money from Duck Dynasty, I would tell them they needed only to say that the show producers did not air the GQ interview remarks yet stand by Phil’s right to free speech even if the network executives “do not necessarily agree with the views expressed” in the GQ article.

As A&E’s lawyer, I would tell the LGBT folks and NAACP folks to read the Constitution.  Even Christians have civil rights.  Phil may express an opinion on what he considers sinful behavior.  It is not just in the Bible, it is in the Constitution.  Pouting by opponents is allowed.  Disagreeing with Phil is allowed.  However, suspending Phil for his remarks is not a good legal decision.

If tolerance is the highest value for the politically correct, then should there not be tolerance for Phil as much as for Miley?

Go figure!

P.S.  I know what you are thinking, but it is not nice (or politically correct) to call Miley white trash.  Billy Ray?  That is another story.  Go ahead.  Make my day!

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