Brutally Honest Audio Rant: The True Test Of Freedom
(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – "American Idiot Remix" – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)
Good evening, and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.
Well it seems like it was just last year, or even possibly two years ago, that I said that I get worried about the period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This is the period of time when we have all of these people trying to put on airs about how "patriotic" they supposedly are. They wrap their self-righteous egos around the American flag and desecrate its very meaning while attempting to turn it into a cult object. They pass laws to show just how "patriotic" they are and put on these BIG demonstrations to show just how much they "love" America.
And I don’t mind the big demonstrations. If you want to satisfy your ego to wear Old Glory as a hat, a sport coat, a tie, pants, shoes, and boxer shorts and make yourself look downright ridiculous, that’s your choice. We get the message: you have an identity problem. You can’t identify yourself without wrapping around a nationalistic symbol. Fair enough.
But what really bothers me about this season of symbolism over substance is that in demonstrating their cult-like obsession with nationalistic patriotism, our elected and appointed grifters and shysters will often push for and enact laws that actually DENEGRATE the very things that MAKE America so great in the first place! They will actually degrade FREEDOM!
Now folks, I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I LOVE freedom! I will fight for and support the freedoms that 99% of the populace refuse to recognize! I’m not one of these self-righteous pretentious conservatives or liberals who only TALK about freedom and thinks that it just makes for a convenient buzzword. I explore the subject! I try to see just how far that freedom should go, because THAT is what sets America apart from any other country in the world! It’s got nothing to do with how much money we have or how many bombs we have or how thin we can spread our forces all around the world. What makes America so great – in theory anyway – is the level of FREEDOM the people have.
And unfortunately there is a price for freedom. You can’t just waive it about on a banner at parades. You have to actually DEFEND it. And I don’t just mean from terrorists halfway around the world. You have to also defend it against the conservatives and the liberals and the theocrats and the rest of the demagogues in THIS country!
And the true and ONLY test of freedom is when you defend the freedom of some group or some position that absolutely makes you sick to your stomach!
Do you REALLY think that the American Civil Liberties Union really WANTED to go to bat to defend the freedoms of pedophiles and neo-Nazi groups? Sure they were laughing all the way when they went to court to defended Rush Limbaugh, but that’s only because people like Limbaugh have been trying to make the ACLU extinct. It was a simply karma that Limbaugh would eventually put himself in a situation where the liberal organization would be OBLIGATED to help him out! But pedophiles and neo-Nazi groups? I really don’t see them getting chopping at the bit over those cases.
And yet, that’s the kind of position that I’m in right now… and I know I’m going to piss off a few people here, but I have to go to bat to defend the freedom of a group that really pisses me off.
You see… The Bush Imperium kicked off the season of hyperactive patriotic displays by signing into law the so-called "Respect for America's Fallen Heroes Act", which prohibits any kind of demonstration near or around cemeteries for one hour before and one hour after the funeral service for fallen soldiers. The penalty for violating this federal law is a $100,000 fine and a year in prison.
Now… WHY, you ask, is there even a NEED for this kind of law? Because there’s some nut-job extremist religious group from Kansas that feels that these servicemen are dying to atone for America’s so-called "sin". That’s right, as long as America supposedly "tolerates" gays and lesbians, God is punishing America by killing the servicemen. That’s the big lie being spewed about by this religious group.
Mind you, this isn’t the first time this extremist religious group has had a mad-on obsessive hatred of gays and lesbians. This is the same religious group that used to protest AIDS victims at hospices and at their funerals, claiming that AIDS was just "God’s punishment". This is the group that waves around signs that say "GOD HATES FAGS". They obviously weren’t getting any mileage off that message at the hospices and funerals - because AIDS victims are living longer thanks to better medicine - so they just went after a more convenient target… the soldiers who died in the service of the United States.
These are basically attention-starved pricks. These are people that have no shame and they have no mercy for anything that falls contrary to their religious beliefs. And they obviously don’t mind stretching their arguments a little bit to justify the targets of their protests.
And now I am in the unenviable position of having to DEFEND their protests against what I believe is, without a doubt, a BAD LAW… and a knee-jerk piss-poor method of dealing with these bastards.
Obviously I don’t agree with what this extremist religious group is spewing, and I happen to think that what they are doing is disgusting and shameful. But you know what? Passing a FEDERAL LAW that PROHIBITS protests is not the way to deal with this problem!
First of all, this religious group gets their jollies off attention. That’s WHY they do WHAT they do. That’s the REAL reason why they’re targeting military funerals. And the typical retort of countering speech with more speech only serves to help their cause. You want to know what really hurts them? Being ignored. Don’t give them the media attention. Don’t bother responding to their protests.
Instead, they got all the attention in the world because now there’s a FEDERAL LAW that was CUSTOM-MADE just for THEM! Politicians actually took time out of their corrupt lives JUST to address this situation! I mean, these bastards are probably stoked right now. They’ve probably got some SERIOUS Viagra erections just knowing what kind of attention they’re getting because of this.
But why I think this is a bad law has got little to do with what this group did to warrant this law, and everything to do with what this law does.
Let’s get brutally honest here… this federal law basically carves out yet another exception to the First Amendment. It’s yet another limitation on free speech. Granted it’s not one that you or I would even think about exercising, but it’s still another limitation nonetheless.
And just how far will this law be taken to? Okay, so you’ve chased away the radical extremist religious group from military funerals. But why stop there? Why stop with the funerals for ACTIVE servicemen and servicewomen? Shouldn’t the sacrifice of veterans be just as important? Let’s say Congressman John Murtha or Senator John McCain shuffle off this mortal coil tomorrow… what is to stop those same religious lunatics from showing up at THEIR funerals? Hey, they’re not active servicemen anymore!
I guess that means that the law has to get changed again, doesn’t it? No protests at funeral services for military veterans as well. And Congress will no doubt throw in a ban against protests at funerals for themselves and for other politicians. I mean, if you’re going to toss in some more exceptions to the U.S. Constitution, why not squeeze in one for yourself?
But why stop with the servicemen and servicewomen? Police officer and firemen put their lives on the line all the time for the sake of the community. Why not give them the same kind of special status when they die while on duty?
And how about the people IN the funeral service? What about if one of those grieving family members says something that questions the White House or questions why that person died? Are the police going to arrest that person as well? Hey, the door is already open on that issue. It’s just a matter of how wide the government will allow it to be.
And let’s not forget that these fundamentalists from Kansas will simply find another venue if they can’t protest at the cemeteries. They’ll go set up protests at the funeral home, or at the church where the services are. They’ll find out where the wake’s going to be and show up there. Ban those places too? Fine. They’ll go after the military recruiting centers, or show up at the airports. Anyplace where they can get attention, they’ll be there with their "God Hates Fags" signs and their self-righteous proselytizing. Who knows? They might even show up at your next July 4th parade or next year’s Memorial Day Parade, just to piss people off! Because that’s what they do!
The point I’m trying to make is this… If we’re going to really appreciate and respect what our servicemen and servicewomen are putting their lives on the line for in this country, then we need to do more than just give lip service to freedom. We need to practice it even with groups that make us sick to our stomachs!
I understand what our servicemen and servicemen are dying for! I appreciate their sacrifice! And I happen to think that it’s disgusting to see these religious protesters leech onto a time of sorrow just so they can continue to spread their message of hate and divisiveness. But passing a law that limits the very freedom that these people died for is sure as hell not the way to honor their sacrifice.
You want to get rid of those protesters? Don’t give them the satisfaction of acknowledging their existence! The minute they realize that the media won’t give them one photo or one mention in their articles, then they’ll go away.
(Computer – a few appropriate words on the subject, but you have to hear the rant to know what they are)
(Fade Music In – "Mythodea" by Vangelis)
You know, we talk a lot about rights in this country, but we always forget that there are some so-called rights that simply do not exist in a free society.
For instance, in a free society… you DO NOT have a right to not be OFFENDED. You DO NOT have a right to not be DISGUSTED. You DO NOT have a right to not be INSULTED. You DO NOT have a right to not be OUTRAGED. You DO NOT have a right to not be DISRESPECTED… and I know this is going to piss off a lot of people, but YOU DO NOT have a right to not have your name or your cause DISHONORED by others for their own self-centered purposes. Believe me, our elected grifters and shysters are repeat offenders of that last part.
If you’re looking for those kinds of false promises from the government, then you’re certainly in the wrong part of the world. Try looking in the Middle East… you’ll find those kinds of phony rights in abundance.
Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production, all opinions expressed are those of the commentator, and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and I’ll speak with you soon!
(Computer – Ending/"End of Recording")
[End of program]