Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Free Speech - For Leftists Only?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
For those products of the public education system who managed to graduate without either the ability to read, or the capacity to comprehend that which is read, allow me to here conduct a quick primer on Constitutionally Guaranteed Freedoms.
The above highlighted text is taken from the First amendment to the constitution of the United States. You'll note that said amendment prohibits the state, or any affiliated agency or representative, from infringing upon the right of the people to engage in the practice of speech in all of its related forms.
This amendment is widely cited by those who believe there should be no limits placed by the state on the freedom to express one's self in any way seen fit by an individual. It is used by everyone from bible bashing preachers to smut hussling pornographers.
Freedom of Speech is crucial to the political process. Lurch and his Democratic leaning surrogates would have you believe that any attack on his character (truthful though it may be) is illegal and must be censored by the government.
Yesterday, groups by the name of Democracy 21, Campaign Legal Center and Center for Responsive Politics made known their claim, no doubt soon to be followed by legal pleadings, that the advertisement produced by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is illegal and violates the McCain Feingold law banning the use of unregulated soft money in the election process.
No word on whether the above listed groups will file the same complaint against Moveon.org.
I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one in Cyberspace. I have, however, actually read the legislation in question and find that Democracy 21, Campaign Legal Center and Center for Responsive Politics have an argument with a gaping hole in it. Swift Boat Veterans for Truth makes no statement as to whom a person should vote for, or against. They simply call into question statements made by Lurch regarding his service in Vietnam and the medals he "won" during said service. It is not a political ad, nor does it claim to be so.
What the ad represents is a group of people getting together and exercising their right to Free Speech in the Public Square. They are no different than the Sons of the Republic in that sense.
I do not agree with what Lurch, Breck Girl, or any of their surrogates have to say. Most days I wish they would find their way to an uncharted island and stay there. Never the less, they, like me, are citizens of this great country. They enjoy the rights of said citizenship, as do the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
And while I do not agree with the statements of Lurch and Company, I will - to quote Voltaire - "defend to my death their right to say it". One would hope Lurch would afford his fellow veterans the same courtesy.
Don't hold your breath.
PS. Memo to Jim Rassmann:
Nuance is not lost on me, as it seems it was on the editors of the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Page. Your piece in the August 10th edition is flawed from the title. You see, there is no group by the name of Swift Boat Veterans for Bush, thus your wish of shame on them is unaddressable. For the record, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has no association with W or his campaign. You might want to be a little more subtle next time, sir.