Thursday, May 14, 2015

Red Herring or Red Flag?

In the endless chatter over the terrorist incident in Garland, TX nearly two weeks ago, there has been much debate over the tenets of "free speech."

Pamela Geller, the organizer of the "Draw the prophet Muhammad" event that weekend, has been at the epicenter of this latest debate. There have been more than a few people who've insinuated that had she been harmed, she would've had it coming. After all, radical Islamists routinely attempt to avenge whatever they deem as an insult to their prophet. As such, a fair number of folks proclaimed Geller should have known better than to stoke the fire. The line of thinking of some of Geller's critics is she wasn't at all denied her free speech, so those who unequivocally supported her actions while decrying the attempted gunfire by two Islamists were missing the greater point. That is, no one is being denied their right to freely express themselves as long as said rhetoric is within the confines of not being inflammatory.

The problem with Geller supporters being dismissed as hyperbolic is there is a continuing trend among members of different branches of the Federal government who themselves decry certain freedoms of expression. President Barack Obama has on several occasions has been critical of commentary heard on the Fox News channel (including this past week at a "poverty summit"). And who can forget when Senator Harry Reid was Majority Leader and how often he obsessed over the activism of businessmen David and Charles Koch?

You can say all you want that we still have a right to speak freely, and you would not be wrong. But certain members of our government who swore to uphold the Constitution (which includes that First Amendment thingy) sure have a funny way of showing support for these supposed inalienable rights. So forgive us if we are a little uneasy about just how "free" is free speech.


No comments: