The Toolshed

Steve Tool Story by posted on November 26, 2012. Filed under Opinion and Editorials. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Freedom of Speech?

I must be getting old. It seems to me that the definition of freedom of speech was considerably simpler when I was a kid.

Back in the day, when school children were actually taught the importance of the Bill of Rights, the concept of freedom of speech was particularly hammered into our hard little heads.

I remember glowing with pride as we were inundated with posters from raising the flag on Iwo Jima to Washington crossing the Delaware. We were reminded that people DIED to make sure we retained the right of free speech.

I remember having a pretty clear view of the concept. Within reason, that meant having the right to speak your mind without fear of government or personal retribution.

Although decent citizens are sickened by Neo-Nazi or KKK marches, we realize everyone has a right to free speech no matter how stupid or twisted they are.

I’m not sure when we crossed over the line.

Maybe it happened when we decided that burning the flag or a cross, or shouting hate epithets at a fallen soldier’s funeral somehow equated with freedom of speech. I don’t know about anyone else, but that’s really a stretch for me.

Just as disturbing is the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which overturned the 2008 McCain-Feingold Act which limited corporate campaign fund contributions. I guess we forgot the Supreme Court also declared corporations have the same rights as individuals—including freedom of speech.

Most people are aware the Supreme Court justices are political appointees rather than the finest legal minds in the country. Still, this does not excuse complete ignorance.

How does one buy freedom of speech?
If you have more money, you get more freedom of speech. Am I the only person who thinks this is an oxymoron?

Just for the record, I’m not any happier with Bill Maher than I am with the Koch brothers on this issue. The amount of campaign money spent on this election is unconscionable and I’d like to propose a solution:

Each presidential candidate gets $50 million dollars of taxpayer money (a drop in the bucket) to spend.

No other monetary or material contributions allowed.

This way the candidate is not beholden to other interests and candidates are monitored so we get to see how they manage OUR money. Besides, if you have so much money to donate, why not give someone a job instead of whining about the economy.

I’m not seeing a problem with this solution. Well, maybe before I publish this free speech I should check my bank account.

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