Thursday, April 16, 2009

Do you believe in Freedom of Speech?

"There is no more fundamental axiom of American freedom than the familiar statement: In a free country we punish men for crimes they commit but never for the opinions they have." - Harry S. Truman

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire

I'll ask again. Do you believe in Freedom of Speech, which is protected by the First Ammendment? I do. I believe in my American right to say whatever I feel like saying, given that I don't incite anyone to riot or seek to wrongfully hurt or harm someone. I wouldn't dream of doing that. Probably never will. I've never physically harmed a human or an animal, above the bug species. (Although, I have known a few humans who belonged in the bug category.) Heaven knows I would never incite anyone to riot, since I abhor large crowds and have the whole fear of germs from large crowds of people issue. This comes under the category of Acquired Phobias since it took many years for these fears to fully blossom.

So, we are left with something I don't like to discuss with other people, but I certainly like to talk about it. Our birthright, as citizens, is to be able to say almost anything we feel like saying, within the specified boundaries of the First Ammendment (which is basic human decency). Freedom of speech in this country is one of the most contentious issues to date.

I might disagree with what you're saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Of course, this means that many things we don't support, like Communism and pornography are also freedom of expression and speech. Freedom of religion even has some bad... like the Branch Davidians (nutcakes) and the Fundamentalist Mormon Splinter Polygamists (child molesters). With the good, some bad is always bound to tag along for the ride. But, freedom of speech is one of the many things that make this such a great country and why so many foreigners want to live here. We have many freedoms in this country, but this could quite possibly be the most difficult to define.

Let's examine the case of The Dixie Chicks. I have just loved the Dixie Chicks since they first burst onto the country music scene. When Natalie Maines made her statement in London during a concert, she had absolutely no idea that the media and many of their fans would turn her statement into a feeding frenzy of hate. She was merely exercising her right to express an opinion, albeit rather poorly timed. I thought her statement was simply her personal opinion, but others reacted as if she had agreed with what the terrorists did on 911. But this is America, my friends. Land of The Free and Home of The Brave, right? Wrong, apparently.

However, I still defend that she has the right to say whatever she feels like saying. She didn't hurt George Bush or anyone else. She wasn't inciting anyone to riot against the President or our country, although the way the public reacted was far worse, in my opinion. Radio stations refused to play their music, people publicly burned their posters & CD's, public comments were skirting the boundaries of defamation of character and slander. But, none of those people were chastised for what they did, and it basically ruined the Dixie Chick's career in country music.

It appears to me that the general American public needs a bit of schooling on the First Ammendment. The government has already taken away the right for our children to pray in public school as well as the right to say The Pledge of Allegiance. Are they now going to allow the public to demand that we not listen to certain types of music? This is just ludicrous. I know people that won't even listen to the Dixie Chicks now, even though they used to like them. Sorry people, but I think that is Just Wrong. No, it's just plain ignorant.

I don't see anyone making huge protests over the fundamentalist Mormon polygamists having sex with children, and that whole mess makes me want to throw-up every time I think about it. Why aren't people marching & protesting in the streets over that? It just leads me to believe that most Americans have their priorities out of whack. What is important to us as Americans? I think our priorities have changed over the years and there are a lot of people who haven't quite *caught up*.

This country is in trouble, people. Ignorance and hate still run rampant. The crime rate is still on the rise. Taxes are higher than ever. Government is having their way in more areas of our lives than ever. Like it or not, the First Ammendment reigns in this country, so get over it. We need to pull together rather than continue being so divided. Unfortunately, our society does not promote that. Being a democratic society does have its drawbacks. We let anyone and everyone into our country and then wonder why things have gone so wrong. Worst of all, we believe the campaign promises of politicians. And, our Congress continues to get raises in pay while the rest of the country is losing their jobs or getting cuts in pay. How crazy is that? Duh. I won't even get started on how bailout money is being *utilized*...

Our new administration is now spending more than ever, even though campaign promises were made that said this would not happen. Does anyone else see that there is something wrong with this picture? The bailouts have surpassed the level of insanity and our taxes are higher than ever. I resent having to pay for people who have made irresponsible decisions. Of course, life has never been fair, but this is as ridiculous as it is insane. Why should I live within my means if I have to pay for those who don't? Give me a reasonable answer to that & I'll give you a gold star. Sorry, but that's all I can afford to do at this point. We just paid our taxes.


Flea said...

I'm right there with ya on the right to say whatever you please. However, if I'm offended what you say - especially if it's said repeatedly - I have the right to choose whether or not to listen to you speak. Hence the Dixie Chicks.

I figure if they use their platform to entertain as a platform for politics, and if their politics offend me, I can choose whether or not to support the group by buying their music. Still all choices on their part and mind.

You're right, though, to be frustrated by the hate and anger stirred up. And the lack of it in the face of true injustice. Amen!

The Incredible Woody said...

Well said!!

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

You tell it Snooty!!! YAY for you and this post!!!
You know, I had a rudie-poo commenter last week and I told them "Hey, this is my forum to speak MY mind. This is America and you can just stroll right onto another blog to be insulting. No one's asking or making you read it". Of course they continued to comment until I blocked them. I'm all for them having a say, but being a rudie-poo? Not in my bloggy world sista :)
Loved this post sooooo very much.

Steady On
Reggie Girl

Staci said...

I don't like any celebrity to use their "fame", however fleeting it might be, to push politics or any other agenda; but in the case of the Dixie Chicks, I didn't really listen to them anyway, so their faux pas in London or wherever just really made me laugh. I wonder where they'd be now if Natalie Maines hadn't been embarassed by GWB and told the whole world about it. I bet the Dixie Chicks wonder where they'd be too!

My thought for the day is that I really wish that people would quit laying the blame at Bush's feet for all our troubles. After all, Obama said he was going to "change" our very world, and he hasn't, has he? He just continues to take our "change" right out of our pockets. And that's his fault, not Bush's.

Love this post, Snooty, you R O C K!!

Nina Knox said...

Snooty, First of all, just love your blog name. Also agree and love your current post. Way to go.
BTW, also agree with Staci's comments above.
And thanks for the words of encouragement you gave me yesterday. We do have a lot in common. My cooking is a lot simpler than yours. Your recipes look delicious.

Daryl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daryl said...

I deleted my comment because while editing it .. I lost a thought ....

I thoroughly agree with you that we all have the right of free speech.

I was outraged when The Dixie Chicks were slammed because Natalie spoke her mind .. what did she say? She said she was sorry that W came from Texas ...

I have recently listened to Cheney say things that he would have had another person locked up for saying ..

I heard Rush the Lush say he hopes Obama fails .. if he had said that about Bush would he have been treated the way Natalie was?

None of us wants to pay high taxes and in fact we are not .. the current administration is forced to spend because the LAST administration lied about its spending by casually omitting the cost of the fiasco war they started from the budget ..

When the current administration said it was going to curtail spending they didnt know what a mess they were inheriting ..

"My thought for the day is that I really wish that people would quit laying the blame at Bush's feet for all our troubles. After all, Obama said he was going to "change" our very world, and he hasn't, has he? He just continues to take our "change" right out of our pockets. And that's his fault, not Bush's."

Well, Staci, I am sorry but you are wrong. Bush and his administration most certainly did get us into this mess ... before Obama can change anything he has to clean up mess Bush left ... the lack of oversight for lending institutions allowed people to get mortgages they could afford to pay ... Obama has been in office FOUR months .. it took Bush EIGHT years to put the economy into the toilet AND flush .. give the man a chance to clean up the overflow before you discount what he is trying to do ....

I dont want a gold star, I want the economy to steady and re-gain its footing .. I lost over $85,000 in retirement funds .. so I wont be retiring anytime soon.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

Glad you're back, Snooty.
Still love the Chicks.

Heather said...

Funny you wrote about this today. I found an article on The Huffington Post this week arguing that Tiger Woods is bad for golf because he swears and gets angry on the course. Give me a frickin' break. I posted my thoughts on that article today. In a nut shell, my kids hear far worse on the school bus than they do on the golf course any day.


Anonymous said...

Ive got a few random thoughts...and I am hopped up on Dayquill, so take them as you will. :-)

Here's my goes way beyond the current administration.

My entire life, save for a few years during Clintons time...we have ran up the deficit. Most of those deficits weren't run up because of any crisis, time of need, was just run up paying the bills as usual.

I cringe every year when the budget comes out. I guess I look at it the way I look at my own household budget. You cant, month after month, year after year, spend more than you make! You have to, at some point, set aside a little for a rainy day. So that when times of crisis come, you CAN spend more than you make.

We are certainly in a crisis now...and there are fingers to be pointed at both political parties for their parts in it. Part of me thinks we ought to just let all these damned banks, car companies, and insurance companies go belly up. Sure, it will lead to higher unemployment, sure it will mean things get a whole lot worse before they get better. But what's the alternative--Im no expert in economics, but to take on TREMENDOUS debt like we are to "help" the situation is really just spreading those tough times out over a longer period isnt it?
At some point, we have to pay the piper. Either the next generation is going to be paying 80 percent taxes to pay off what we ran up, or the whole damned country is going get liquidated to the Chinese.

It blows my mind that our current "leaders" would grant a tax break to 95 percent of us while racking up the biggest deficit EVER. Do you volunteer for a pay cut and then go on a shopping spree? He can have back my "13 dollars per paycheck"--how is that going to help the economy anyway??
It burns me up that no one in Washington gives anything other than lip service to the idea of fiscal responsibility. They preach it, but dont practice it, because it doesnt get them reelected. They sign bill after bill that brings home the bacon to their districts, but wont do a thing to pay for it!

Grrr...sorry, Im getting long winded, and Im gonna shut up now!

The Incredible Woody said...

I don't like to talk politics but The Villager brought up an excellent point about the deficit and budgets. So I thought I would throw this in for thought.

I was an accounting major in college and had my eyes opened when I had to take Governmental Accounting. Yes, the government has is own special way of accounting.

It all boils down to this. Our government's spending is nothing but air. It is based on nothing but budgets. It has no basis on 'real' money - ie funds received via taxes, funds spent on whatever.

Here is what I mean in a very simplified manner.

Government says 'I budget $20 for paying my employees.' He spends $15. So Government says 'I have a budget surplus of $5 so I what can I spend that money on. Hey, what about a road?' So he spends that extra $5 that he has deemed a surplus.

Reality hits and Government only takes in $10. So Government truly owes $10. There was no surplus. There wasn't even enough to cover his initial expenditure. That is what our deficit is. Only in trillions of $$.

But does Government try to do anything to change this? No, each year, the budget is a clean slate. With no mind paid to 'real' money that exchanged hands.

This out of control spiral has been going on for decades. It is not Obama's fault (while his shopping spree will certainly add to the pile). It is not Bush's fault (his shopping spree added to the pile, too).

Our country has been in debt since the 1940's. And the debt really took off in the 1980's. So we are looking at a problem that is finally coming to a head after decades upon decades of building up.

It did not form overnight and it will not be solved overnight. And just like in your own household, more spending will not solve it.

SJN said...

woah... political post with heavy comments.
here are mine, not so heavy:
I love your comment "I resent having to pay for people who have made irresponsible decisions". I'm so with you there!
Also, I love the conservatives getting involved with these tea parties! Working Americans are fed up and speaking up!

SJN said...

one note to Daryl: perhaps you're forgetting Mr. Frank and friends when you place blame.

Anonymous said...

so, Woody, its like the conversation that happens at my house all the time?

"BUT I saved $50!" spent $50. You might have gotten a $100 item for it, but you still spent $50"

(Sorry, the economy of the whole country is more than I can wrap my head around, I have to knock it down to my level! LOL)

The Incredible Woody said...

Villager - And then pretend like you only have $25 dollars! And that's how it works.

Snooty Primadona said...

And I appreciate you knocking it down to my level as well, lol. But seriously, I do appreciate everyone voicing their opinions, which is what I asked for. Thank you all!

Shawn said...

Actually, I'm probably in the 'reap what you sow' group here also.

When I was a single mom making $35k and looking for a house, I knew what I could afford in payments. Much to my surprise I was told I was approved for a loan that was TWICE what I had thought I could do. That opened up a whole new wonderful listing of houses that I drooled over.

Thank goodness my own common sense prevailed and I bought a house within my means. It was very tempting to get the dream house but I knew better.

Those that knew better and didn't do what they should have...that's their own fault. I'm including businesses in here most definitely. They wanted to get rich quick and it backfired. Suck it up and lay in the bed you made.

I know that is way too simplistic and people can argue (rightly) that would be the absolute worst thing to do. In my house though, if my kids do something wrong, then they have consequences. It just seems like that basic lesson is missed by the people that should have learned it ages ago.

:::climbing down off the soapbox:::

SJN said...

I need a translator for Ed! Snooty do you?

Anonymous said...

SJN, if you click on Eds words as I did, I think its the international language of love. LOL!

Treasia said...

Very well said Snooty. I've always loved the Dixie chicks since day one and will continue to listen to them. Everyone has a right to voice their thoughts and opinions. If you don't agree with it then it's your choice as to what you decide to do. But just because their opinion differs from yours why stop enjoying something that this person does?

As for our government? I have to much to say and not enough time to say it in. our country has been going to hell in a handbasket for years. I don't think it is anyone in particulars fault but all of the majority of them.

I also blame people in general. People such as you and me. Don't live above your means for god's sake. If you can't afford it, good God don't buy it and make other hard working people pay for it. Some very wise people in our world has said for years "If you can't save and pay cash for something then you don't need it". I agree 100% with this. If you save and pay cash for anything you need it is so much more appreciated and respected by you the buyer. If you can't afford new then purchase used.

Ok, I guess for time reasons I am done. Thanks for letting me have my say in freedom of speech.


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