Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The 2010 Muzzles
Each year on or about April 13th, the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression presents it annual Muzzle awards to those who have the dubious honor of having forgotten or ignored the First Amendment right to free speech. I like it that there's a center like this dedicated to the First Amendment. I really think it's the most important right we Americans have. The 2010 Muzzle awards Awards went to a motley crew ranging from a Congressman to various government agencies on every level as well. Here is the list of 'honorees':
1.U.S. Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL)
2.The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board
3.Chicago Alderman James A. Balcer
4.The Oklahoma Tax Commission
5.The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department
6.The Texas State Legislature
7.The West Fargo School Board in North Dakota and Principal S.K. Johnson of Orange High School in California
8.The Administration of Southwestern College in Chula Vista, California
9.The Virginia Department of Corrections
10.The Puerto Rico Department of Education
In the interest of time and space, I'm only going to address the #1 offender. But y'all can read about the rest of them here.
The number one offender for 2010 is Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL)!!! Now this shocked me greatly. I actually kinda like (or is that 'liked'?) him and I would not have thought that this man would be so petty. Some of his Republican constituents are not happy with him and put up a website that parodies Grayson's website. Grayson asked in his lawsuit that the person who started the site be imprisoned for five years!
Okay -- who hasn't lambasted a politician? I plead guilty, guilty, guilty. Silly me -- I thought I had the right to my opinion. If everyone who ever posted a blog that criticized or made fun of a politician was imprisoned for it, there wouldn't be room for real criminals. (A they'd be coming to get me and a lot of others (Rain and Darlene? Think they'd let us share a cell?) Thank God for the Supreme Court who ruled:
"[W]e consider this case against the background of a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials."
In short, Grayson's suit is a huge violation of the First Amendment and that he didn't realize that sets off a warning to me. I truly resent the pettiness and frivolity of this suit. And I truly believe that if a body can't take criticism, then politics is not a the career for you.
Voltaire said: "I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it." I think our Founding Fathers had that in mind when they wrote the Constitution and that Grayson needs a review on its content.
What do you think?