As I’m mentally getting ready for the Syracuse – Gonzaga basketball game in a little while, I’m reminded of the reality of today’s world. That reality is that there are a number of people who believe that, because we (the United States) has a Constitution whose first amendment gives the right of free speech, that they can and should be able to say whatever they want to say, no matter who it hurts, and get away with it.
Something that I absolutely loathe is news sources allowing people to comment on news stories. I can’t believe the hate, racism, and bad taste that I keep seeing over and over, and I keep asking myself just who thought this was a good idea in the first place. Locally I’ve had conversation with someone who works at the newspaper, most specifically the online newspaper, and I’ve read commentary about it through someone else I know whose group tried to get some information from banks that’s supposed to be given immediately by them, had the story hit the newspapers, and the majority of comments against them weren’t positive, and pretty much had nothing to do with why they protested in the first place.
Then there’s this issue of health care, and how people on both sides are arguing with each other. This group of people who are calling themselves “tea partiers” (I call them “tea baggers”), are of course protesting against the bill, but they’ve gotten so vile as to call black representatives the N-word, throw money in the face of a man with serious Parkinson’s disease issues saying he didn’t deserve to live off the money of other people (as it turned out, he’s a college professor with a Ph.D.), spit on some other people and basically show themselves for what they mainly are; a bunch of no-nothing home grown terrorists who don’t want to discuss anything if they can’t get absolutely everything they want. Yeah, that was a rant!
You think that’s bad enough? I don’t. Rush Limbaugh this past week went after an 11-year old whose mother died because she couldn’t get the health care she needed, and Glenn Beck went after religious groups who believe that a part of their mission is to try to help others. I may not be religious, but wasn’t that supposedly what Jesus was doing (yeah, I know that answer; that’s sarcasm)?
People have this thing about free speech incorrect. That’s not what the first amendment says, just like the second amendment doesn’t say that everyone has the right to bear arms. I find it incredible that the same people who believe that they need to follow the tenets of the Constitution to the letter can’t even seem to understand what the words actually mean because none of them seem to know anything about history.
The first amendment was supposed to only be geared towards Congress; it even specifically mentions Congress. Its purpose was to make sure there was no national religion set up, since many people fled Europe to come here for religious freedom. Its purpose was to make sure Congress couldn’t stop the press from commenting either positively or negatively against government policies, like what’s going on in Venezuela right now, another reason many of them left Europe, which was the bastion of kings and emperors in the day. Overall, the amendment was there to protect the people from Congress; it wasn’t meant to create a free-for-all of bad behavior from anyone who decided they wanted to be a moron towards someone else.
Still, the Supreme Court has interpreted this one many times, and these days pretty much anything goes. Yet, during President Obama’s last State of the Union speech, we all saw one of the justices not enjoying the President’s idea of free speech, when he castigated them for declaring a certain law that most of us thought was a good one as being unconstitutional by a 5-4 party line vote. Seems even Supreme Court judges don’t necessarily want to have to live with this free speech issue that they’ve created. Tough; that’s what consequences are all about.
Anyway, that’s my Sunday rant; got a take on it? Just be nice and pick your words carefully because, unlike everywhere else, we pay for our blogs, and we all have the right to either delete or edit anything we don’t like; our money, right? I always say no one has to agree with me, they just have to respect me. After all, I would bet if I were standing in your face that the majority of people wouldn’t want to risk wondering what kind of physical reaction, if any, might come from me. It pays being a big guy sometimes, right Dennis? 🙂