Political: State of the Union Apathy, Free Speech Victory & Other Stuff

USSC Ruling: Free Speech Advocates Dislike Free Speech?

Politics Truly Does Make Strange Bedfellows

So a dozen of you have already written in to ask what I thought of the President’s speech the other night. Simple, didn’t watch it. Now before everyone gets their panties in a bunch, hear me out. I didn’t listen to any of the last two President’s S of the U speeches either. (I did watch Bush’s 2002 speech, but other than that I don’t remember caring enough to watch any of them.) And that doesn’t mean I don’t care about the country, it just means that I don’t care what the speechwriters have to say about it. What a President says during the speech almost never equates to what he (or one day she) has done or will do. It’s banter for the poli-cheers out there and this one is no exception. I have no interest in tearing apart every word Obama said the other night and finding the lies, inconsistencies and flat out fairy tales he spun. Nor do I have any interest in printing out the speech and hanging it from my walls as if the words are sacred. It was a political speech and it made for an interesting read. (While I am apathetic about watching, I do read the transcripts.) I got all I need to know from the speech by the reactions of my friends, family and bloggers. Those who love the President loved his speech. Those who hate him, hated it. Great, pass out the pom poms and short skirts, it’s time for the half time show.

One YouTube moment that I have seen is the shot of Justice Alito’s “not true” reply to the President’s overwrought and misguided attack on last week’s campaign finance reform ruling. A whole lot of people on both sides of the issue have been screaming (or just typing with great gusto) about whether the Justice’s mouthed correction was in keeping with proper etiquette or whether the President’s direct attack on a USSC ruling was perhaps the initial breach. I don’t care either way. If the President wants to use his rah-rah speech to blast the Court, fine. If one of the Justice’s wants to silently call him on his BS, fine. How is any of this going to put people back to work or bring our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan? (How’s that coming by the way?)

I had a point when I started this and it wasn’t to point out the obvious fact that the political cheerleading involved in SofU speeches is almost as annoying as the two-week wait for the Super Bowl.

Oh yes, the USSC decision on free speech vs. campaign finance reform. I’ve seen a whole lot of people writing a lot of stuff about this decision and it seems that those who usually wrap themselves quite tightly in the First Amendment are now crying foul. If I read things correctly, the First Amendment should apply to ALL forms of sexual speech (Children and animals excluded) but not to political speech when it comes from certain entities. Now that just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t like the idea of corporations, labor unions, PACS or crazy billionaire felons (cough, George Soros ) spending at will on political ads. I don’t like that there is no legal way for us to call shenanigans on some of these ads (Like the one that claimed that Scott Brown voted to deny rape victims medical treatment because he supported a conscientious objector clause for emergency room workers who didn’t want to dispense the abortion pill) but what is the answer? Limit the free speech of some while allowing it for others? Remember, the ruling the USSC overruled is what gave us out of control PAC’s. The money still found its way into elections. McCain-Feingold was a joke and a horrible law. It was overturned and “free speech” advocates are bitching? Some of these people are the same ones who cried foul when California tried to limit spending by Unions on political campaigns WITHOUT the permission of their members. That would seem to be a greater violation of fundamental rights than this decision. (It’s OK to FORCE people to give money to candidates they don’t believe in?)

I think that Justice Kennedy sums things up pretty well with the following:

“If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

I just hope that Justice Kennedy feels as strongly about the First Amendment when obscenity cases come his way. I think we should embrace this decision as a victory for Free Speech and hold him to his word. Rob Black, Max Hardcore, Lizzy Borden and others deserve the protection he describes above, do they not?

Rather than get off on a rant, I’ll just wonder aloud what it is we are supposed to do? Do we support the First Amendment as written or do we restrict the rights of some to serve a ‘greater good’? Before you answer though, remember that a sword cuts two ways and if you choose the latter, you are now arguing along with every right wing nutbar and feminist shrew who has ever tried to limit the distribution of adult material.

See, I buy a greater good argument, but I apparently fall on a different side than some of my friends. I think that supporting the First Amendment even for big spending corporations and labor unions is better than supporting it only when it suits me. Then again, that’s just me, crazy Libertarian, Logical Moderate and Free Speech advocate.


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