Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Free Speech

I've been musing on this Koran burning incident, and here are my two cents.

Free Speech is a cornerstone of our democracy.  But free speech is often offensive, ugly, and seriously unpopular.  It flares emotions and opens old wounds.  It breaks hearts and starts riots.  It divides families and enrages neighbors.  But it must remain.

So this complete nut-job in Bumfuck Florida somehow gets himself a copy of the Muslim holy book.  In what I can only describe as a mentally challenged tantrum for attention, he burns it on his property.  The behavior is foul and disgusting, creepy and manipulative, dangerous and ignorant.  But it must be protected.  There I said it.

Based on the nut-job's tantrum, some equally unstable religious extremists go on a rampage and kill innocent people, lots of them.  These zealots seem to me a great deal more dangerous than the Florida crackpot. Those folks chose that reaction. 

Free speech does not mean the right to agree with each other.  It means to right to voice your opinion, no matter how despicable others might find it.  Don't we defend the right to burn the American flag?  Don't we defend the right to give our leaders the finger?  Remember the "free speech zones" established by the W Administration during his every public appearance? 

We must defend free speech, even words we find vile and offensive.  The rights we protect may be our own.

11 comments:

michaelg said...

I agree that his right to free speech must be protected.
What I disagree with is the media that give these nut jobs air time. Keep local news local. I can think of a few crazy loud people who did/do really offensive things near where I live. Should I call in a national news crew?

Mnmom said...

Yes, I forgot to mention that. Our media also has a duty to report NEWS, not nut jobs.

Churlita said...

I agree with michaelg. But, yes, we all need to support our freedom of speech...Whether we like what anyone is saying or not.

Anita said...

I am so proud to be a Floridian where this nutjob lives.
I agree Michael, since when did this kind of crap make national news? He is an attention seeking, narrow minded hick, sorry but he is, this reverend whomever.
Mostly here when "news" happens they look for the person with the least teeth to interview for the local perspective...gag!!

kirby said...

I think the reason the corporate news machine lives for crap like this is that it makes their defacto job of selling the war, sorry, wars, that much easier. Some fundamentalist asshole burns a copy of the Koran, and what do they get to show on the nightly news for the next week? Images of some other fundamentalist asshole's violent response. The stereotype of the Mad Muslim Terorist is further etched into the mind's eye, dehumanizing our "enemies" which of course makes it easier to kill them.

Coaster Punchman said...

Yer right. So is Michael. I blame the media and their sensationalist whoring. We're practically living the movie "Network."

taraj said...

And it's also why those disgusting "Christians" have the right to protest at military funerals.

Sheleta said...

We gotta give folks the right to say what they want to. Even if it hurts, if we are really a country that believes in individual rights. And it gets ugly and it hurts cause there are nut jobs that will distort the law just to offend folks... but we can't have the good of this fundamental right if we don't take the bad with it.

Cathy said...

Agreed. On all counts.

Liberality said...

Love this post!!! Don't know how I missed it but right on!

dmarks said...

Really good points overall. Except for Kirby's "conspiracy theory" one.