Exclusive commentary by C. K. Rairden April 2, 2003
The left talks tough. They attempt to put forward that they believe in free speech. But when pressed, the left dreams of the “good old days” when they received absolute license to accuse without impunity.
Free speech is granted to Americans by God and guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. That is as it should be. Speech in this country is a guaranteed right, but comes with a responsibility. Al Gore, Tom Daschle and a host of other liberals are not fond of that, at least for themselves. They want for the left to be able to speak unchallenged.
Tom Daschle found out the hard way when he was blasted by GOP politicians and many American citizens when he attacked President Bush on the eve of war.
Daschle tried to stand his ground with his ill timed and factually challenged attack on the President, but finally backed down when he was crushed by public opinion.
Al Gore is learning it first hand from a speech he gave to a college audience in Tennessee last week. He claimed that the lack of tolerance for opposing (read liberal) views is on the increase. Gore went on to cite a ridiculous example using the Dixie Chicks.
''They were made to feel un-American and risked economic retaliation because of what was said,'' Gore said to the audience of 250 at Middle Tennessee State. ''Our democracy has taken a hit. Our best protection is free and open debate.''
Memo to Al Gore; free and open debate is defined as all viewpoints are allowed to be heard. Democracy hasn’t taken a hit at all; this is democracy at its finest hour.
Performers and artists have found out that they are not immune to being held responsible for their words either. Al Gore‘s favorite victims are a prime example.
Natalie Maines, the band’s chunky lead singer, set off the firestorm Gore referred to when she criticized President George Bush from a London stage. She told the crowd she was “embarrassed” that President Bush was from Texas. No one tried to squelch her speech, but many reacted to it with passion. Radio stations received thousands of calls and thousands of one-time Dixie Chicks fans either crushed their CD’s or just quit buying them.
Maines used her free speech to share her views, and her fans used their first amendment rights in response.
Maines has learned the hard way that she has every right to freedom of expression, but with that comes responsibility and reaction to that can come swiftly and with determination.
The pampered and paranoid Hollywood elites are also not used to being challenged.
Hans Blix wannabe Sean Penn has filed a lawsuit claiming he was dumped from a movie for his anti-war stance.
The United Way in Tampa canceled a charity event on April 11 because anti-Bush activist Susan Sarandon was the scheduled keynote speaker when numerous complaints were received about Sarandon’s appearance.
Martin Sheen’s paranoia has him worried that he will be blacklisted because of his anti-Bush rants. He was so upset at the mocking of him and his Hollywood friends that he wrote an editorial to the LA Times demanding respect for artists who express their anti-Bush views.
This isn’t the movies or an NBC soundstage Marty; in the real world you have to earn respect. As far as the majority of Americans seem to feel, you and your ilk are a far cry from earning respect from them.
Batten down the hatches, the mocking will continue.
From New York to Washington DC, and on to Hollywood the elitists have lost their grip on what was once a monopoly. Competition from news outlets across the spectrum no longer accepts liberally biased views as fact. The views are challenged, dissected and discussed in a way that shines the light of Democracy brightly on the First Amendment.
This competition frightens the left as they were used to being treated and pampered as elitists and experts on any subject for so long by the talking bobble heads on television and the left wing of the print media that they had gotten into a comfort zone of intellectual laziness. Liberals now fear free speech and loathe the fact that they are challenged.
These new challenges have taken the left completely by surprise, as that concept was once foreign to them. They are now confused and desperate and are making foolish accusations that are easily debunked. The liberal viewpoint was always stale, but in Al Gore’s “good old days” went unchallenged and was usually successful. Those days are past.
As the Dixie Chicks, Tom Daschle, Martin Sheen, Al Gore and the rest of that ilk has learned--
C. K. Rairden is a political columnist for the Platte
County Landmark and a freelance writer.
Reach him at email@example.com.
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