November 10, 2008

Something That Must Be Said

Now there is an attempt – a dishonest one, in my opinion – to blame Sarah Palin for death threats against Barack Obama. Some are resurrecting discredited claims of “a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling ‘terrorist’ and ‘kill him’” as examples of her misdeeds – despite the fact that the original source about the connection between Palin and the threats seems to go nowhere near that conclusion and makes a connection that seems rather tenuous.

Lest you think this sort of report and connection is mere coincidence, let me offer a parallel – the Oklahoma City Bombing of 1995. That terrible act of violence was used and abused by liberals in the media and in public office in an attempt to quash conservative rhetoric that they claimed – quite incorrectly – was somehow responsible for that reprehensible act of terrorism. No less than Bill Clinton attempted to tag radio talkers like Rush Limbaugh and the newly elected GOP majority in Congress with responsibility. And I’d argue that we are seeing the same sort of effort today, in an attempt to delegitimize and suppress conservative criticism and dissent in the wake of Obama’s electoral victory and in advance of his assuming office. Criticism, we will likely hear, endangers the life of the nation’s first black President and must be delegitimized and eliminated. Indeed, the new refrain of the Left will be not that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism,” but that “dissent is incitement to murder.”

So let me speak clearly today, before this effort is in full swing. While I did not vote Barack Obama, I hope he has a successful presidency that leaves this country a better place than when his term begins. I wish him long life, and pray that he will see his two beautiful daughters marry and give him many grandchildren – and that he sees great-grandchildren and perhaps even the generation or two beyond. I hope that he gets to grow old with his wife Michelle, who he obviously loves. No person who loves this country should wish for anything less.

However, none of those wishes ought to supersede a fervent commitment to the First Amendment. The life of Barack Obama, or any president, is not more important than the right of Americans to engage in political speech free from government restraint. And if I as an individual am given a choice between that inalienable right and the life of any chief executive, I regret to say that the elected official loses every single time. Men and women have died for over two centuries to protect the liberties contained in the Constitution at the direction of many different presidents – as commander-in-chief, the holder of the presidency must accept that there is some element of risk to be taken in order to uphold his (or, one day, her) solemn oath to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” – risk that comes from some individual drawing an illegitimate conclusion from the constitutionally protected political speech of Americans who disagree with his policy.

Should Americans speak in a manner that is responsible and temperate? Yes, they should. Should due consideration be given to the reasonably foreseeable results of one’s words? Again, the answer is yes. But to assign culpability to the speakers of legitimate political criticism (even if their rhetoric might be judged to be over-heated by some) for the actions of violent extremists is not merely an attack upon one’s opponents with illegitimate charges, it is no less than an assault upon the First Amendment itself and the bedrock principle it contains that every citizen has the right to speak out on matters of public concern. And as our nation has seen more than once, our system of government can survive the death of a president – what it cannot survive is the actual negation of an essential liberty of the citizenry in order to protect a president from the hypothetical violence of the extreme and the unstable.

And the key, of course, is that threats are never acceptable. I’ve stated that frequently here, even as I’ve defended the right of some truly awful human beings to engage in contemptible speech. But our founders intended that political speech be robust, boisterous and loud – one need only consider the elections of 1796 and 1800 (between such revered men as Jefferson and Adams) to recognize that attempts to silence even the most extreme political speech is not just dangerous – it is un-American and contrary to the intent of those who gave life and breath to the American experiment of liberty.

|| Greg, 10:19 PM || Permalink || Comments (2) || Comments || TrackBacks (0) ||

Trackback Information for Something That Must Be Said

TrackBack URL for this entry:
Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 'Something That Must Be Said'.

Comments on Something That Must Be Said

Well, I went to a couple of McCain rallies here in VA, as an undecided leaning toward Obama. I must say that even in McCain rallies, most of the reasons people gave (while waiting for the candidate) not to vote for Obama bordered from the uninformed to the scary.

Some people, continued to claim that he was a Muslim and was hiding it because once assuming office he would seek to destroy America. Others, either nodded or added, that he was a socialist who "palled around with terrorists." Still others argued that they were afraid of the future of this country of Sen. Obama were elected.

In fact, only a few people spoke with respectful disagreement with the majority, by stating that both Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain were good men who espoused different visions for the country.

I heard many of Palin's accusations being bandied about as if they were true, and I didn't like it. I mean, I respect senator McCain and have for a very long time, but the tenor of his supporters frankly left me disappointed.

I attended one Obama rally after that, and the mood there was far more positive. I did hear some loons talking about being scared if Sen. McCain was elected. Most just talked about how Sen. Obama was a transcendental figure in US politics and would allow us to move beyond the partisanship of the last few years. In short, in Obama rally people focused on the positive reasons for voting for the candidate, while in the McCain rallies I attended people focused almost exclusively on fear of that one.

Sen. McCain, I think admirably sought to tamp down and control his supporters, but Gov. Palin rather than correcting them incited them with rhetoric designed to make them scared of Sen. Obama.

When she first came unto the scene, I thought she was a good pick, but as time went on, she reminded me too much of the divisive politics we were trying to move away from. She ended up becoming part of the reason, though not the only one, why I ended up voting Democrat, despite having voted for G.W. Bush in 2000. I didn't vote in 2004, but would probably have voted for Sen. Kerry.

With regard to your argument that any opposition to Sen. Obama is dangerous and could threaten his life. You are essentially doing what you are criticizing the Dems for supposedly doing. You say they see all criticism of the president elect as dangerous because it could threaten his life (a generalization by the Dems if it were true) and then you generalize about all democrats and say they are trying to kill free speech and any valid criticism of the President elect.

|| Posted by Lola, November 11, 2008 03:47 PM ||

Actually, Lola, you are partially correct -- but I am not attributing this attitude to "all Democrats". Instead, I am speculating based upon prior history, and drawing a conclusion. After all, we've seen the "criticism of Obama is racist" argument made time and again, and the new attempt to argue that fierce criticism of Obama provoked death threats is likely to lead to the new meme that I suggested -- "dissent is incitement to murder."

From there, I argued that it is irrelevant whether such an argument is correct or not -- if the use of our First Amendment rights jeopardizes the president (and I mean any president, not just Obama), then that is simply a risk that he (or she) assumes upon making a declaration of candidacy and eventually taking the oath of office. It is clear from your comment that you did not understand my argument.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, November 11, 2008 06:17 PM ||
Post a comment

Remember personal info?




Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards
Winner - 2014 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2013 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2012 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2011 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2010 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Winner - 2009 Fabulous 50 Blog Awards

Posts by Category

Announcements (posts: 13)
Blogging (posts: 187)
Border Issues & Immigration (posts: 421)
deferred (posts: 4)
Education (posts: 685)
Entertainment & Sports (posts: 483)
Guns & Gun Control (posts: 65)
History (posts: 329)
Humor (posts: 88)
Israel/Middle East (posts: 44)
Medical News (posts: 54)
Military (posts: 273)
News (posts: 1570)
Paid Advertising (posts: 234)
Personal (posts: 108)
Politics (posts: 5261)
Race & Racism (posts: 281)
Religion (posts: 819)
Terrorism (posts: 884)
Texas GOP Platform Reform Project (posts: 4)
The Courts (posts: 310)
Watcher's Council (posts: 482)
World Affairs (posts: 345)


January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
December 0000



Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Powered By

Powered by
Movable Type 2.64

Administrative Stuff

Email Me
Syndicate this site (XML)

Advertising Disclosure


About Me

NAME: Greg
AGE: 50-ish
SEX: Male
OCCUPATION: Social Studies Teacher
LOCATION: Seabrook, TX
DISCLAIMER: All posts reflect my views alone, and not the view of my wife, my dogs, my employer, or anyone else. All comments reflect the view of the commenter, and permitting a comment to remain on this site in no way indicates my support for the ideas expressed in the comment.

Search This Site

Support This Site

Recent Entries

Who Is Regan Theiler And Why Was She Allowed To Spend Public Funds On A Sole Source Contract For Her Part-Time Employer?
Not My Idea Of A Stimulating Evening
About Trump's Liberty University Speech
Do Not Place The Secessionist "Texas Independence" Measure On The 2016 Republican Primary Ballot
Conservatives Vs. Liberal On Those Engaged In Violent Political Activity
Tom Mechler Makes His Case Against Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Jared Woodfill Makes His Case For Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Questions About Moving The 2016 RPT Convention
Reject The Call To Move 2016 Republican Party Of Texas Convention
It Is Too Bad That Political Parties Cannot Reject Voters Who Seek To Join, Stop Would-Be Candidates Who Want To Run


Watchers Council
  • Ask Marion
  • Bookworm Room
  • The Colossus of Rhodey
  • The Glittering Eye
  • GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD
  • The Independent Sentinel
  • JoshuaPundit
  • Liberty's Spirit
  • New Zeal
  • Nice Deb
  • The Noisy Room
  • The Razor
  • Rhymes With Right
  • The Right Planet
  • Simply Jews
  • Virginia Right!
  • Watcher Of Weasels

  • Political & Religious Blogs