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Friday, January 21, 2011

Well, they haven't blamed Bush yet...

Lately it seems as though everyone is talking. And what they are talking about is the First Amendment. More specifically, the freedom of speech that is guaranteed to us in the First Amendment. The Left is crusading to put a stop to the "violent rhetoric" in the political arena. This so called violent rhetoric is a pot-stirring tactic that they would like us to believe is solely employed by the Right. But with folks like Bill Maher out there suggesting that Sarah Palin should be reincarnated as a wolf so that someone can shoot her from a helicopter, it becomes fairly clear that the tactic is universal.

Their target - du - jour is the apparently unsinkable Sarah Palin, whose use of bullseye graphics on a map (as claimed by a Lefty blogger on the Daily Kos) "were the inspiration behind Jared Loughner's shooting spree in Tucson." In fact, they suggested that between Palin's use of "violent symbolism" and Glenn Beck's raving "hate speech", Loughner hardly had a snowball's chance in hell to become anything but the violent monster he became. Nevermind that closer scrutiny quickly revealed that Loughner was hardly a Palin enthusiast, and that there were no conservative talk-radio stations among his radio presets. That information does not play into the narrative that we are supposed to be gobbling up.

So what are they doing about all of this? As usual, the Left sees a problem and attempts to solve it by driving it into absurdity. They assert that limiting the use of violent terminology will somehow decrease the amount of violence in the people. Basically, they are saying that if we want to keep people from yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater, the best way to accomplish that is to ban all uses of the word "fire."

First on the chopping block is the term "job-killing," as it refers to legislation that destroys jobs. But tell me, do you think that the guy who gets the pink slip will be less upset because he lost the means to support his family due to a piece of legislation that "eliminated the need for his position" rather than one that "killed" his job?

That part reminds me a bit of the Mafia. I know, it sounds a little bit out there - but go with me on this. Back in the day, when someone posed a problem for the Mafia, they had him killed. But when the FBI started getting a little too close for comfort, they changed their language in order to hide their agenda. Kill soon became hit, ice, whack, terminate, erase, or fit with a pair of cement shoes. My point is that regardless of the terminology, the guy still ends up in the East River.

I f the Left truly believes that softening the language will decrease the violence, then I have a few questions that I would like to ask:

Are "vertically challenged" people taller than "short" people?
Do people with "terminal illnesses" live longer than people with "fatal diseases?"
Do men whose wives "step out" feel less betrayed than men whose wives "cheat?"
Do the "visually impaired" see better than the "legally blind?"

And the list could go on and on...

My point is simply that changing the rhetoric will never change the heart of the speaker or the facts of the case.

That being said, when do we take responsibility? 

If Michelle Bachmann (Rep, Minnesota) were shot today and shooter claimed that he was inspired by Keith Olbermann, everyone would say he was crazy. Even though Olbermann has repeatedly featured Michelle Bachmann in his "Worst Person in the World" segment. And he ridicules her for "offenses" such as suggesting that a round table discussion with Jesus, George Washington, Adam – the first man – the Apostle Paul, Johann Sebastian Bach, Ann Coulter, Ronald Reagan and Mark Levin would be a very interesting combination.

If that happened, the press would say that Olbermann was well within his First Amendment rights to say those things. And they would be right. They would say that political and other public figures can not be held responsible for the actions of clearly disturbed people. And they would be right. But when the shoe is on the other foot...

Why is it that the rights of those on the Left extend further than the rights of those on the Right? Why is Palin criticized and warned that she should watch what she says while Olbermann is allowed to run his mouth unchastised and unchecked?

And at what point do we grow up, behave like adults, and take some freaking responsibility for what we do? If I grab a gun and walk into Central Park and start shooting, I am responsible no matter who I cite as inspiration. Is it Jodie Foster’s fault that John Hinckley shot Ronald Reagan? Where exactly do you draw the line? And how much of the First Amendment are you willing to compromise in order to sanitize public speech? What happens when you realize that even if you take away the First Amendment entirely, there will still be nutjobs with guns who find inspiration in high school chemistry textbooks? Who should we blame then?

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