Thursday, August 18, 2005

Something to think about...

Here's today's First Amendment Center quote...

''People are too quick and too willing to judge the First Amendment solely by the company it keeps.''
Robert Richards

Journalism educator, Pennsylvania State University 1998

And that's pretty much the truth! We are prejudiced about free speech because the people whose rights get attacked. Flag burners, strippers, radio shock jocks, and amateur publishers (and now website bloggers) are always on the front lines of persecution because they are the easiest groups to target and marginalize.

But think about this for a minute... if these groups can be outlawed and silenced, what is there to stop that same government from silencing anyone else?

Garrison Keillor got censored by a Kentucky radio station simply because he said the word "breast" in a poem! Why? Because that radio station lived in FEAR of what the Federalist Christian Censors would do! It took a groundswell of pissed off listeners for that radio station to flip-flop and put "The Writer's Almanac" back on the air.

If simply saying the word "breast" can cause a knee-jerk censorship reaction - with a STRONG emphasis on JERK - what is there to stop the censorship of other forms of speech? How about criticizing religious groups? Political groups? How about opposing anything from the Bush Imperium?

So boys and girls, give thanks to your local stripper, flag-burner, or shock jock. You may not like what they do, but they're taking the lumps so YOU won't have to!

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