Don't Stop the ACLU

Monday, March 27, 2006

Speak up

Please. Everyone. Can we stop assuming completely ridiculous things about one another based on our issue-specific political beliefs?

Liberals do this plenty ("Support charter schools? You hate poor children. Don't like affirmative action? You're a racist. Don't like abortion? You hate women"), but conservatives seem to be a little bit better at it. Conservatives gave us gems like "Don't like being spied on? You love terrorists" and "Don't think lying to the Grand Jury about a blow job is as serious a crime as lying to the American people about your motives for leading its army to war? You're obviously a communist."

Here is an excellent example.

In sum, the writer suggests that because San Franciscans greeted rallying out-of-towner evangelical Christian teenagers with resistance (a counter-rally, along with some official condemnations by various city officials), said SFans therefore believed that only non-religious liberals should have the right to free speech.

The really sad thing about the commentary on this story is that it appears on a site whose stated purpose (from the "About" section) is as follows:

"The American Thinker is devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans. Contributors are accomplished in fields beyond journalism, and animated to write for the general public out of concern for the complex and morally significant questions on the national agenda."

A more complex analysis of what was happening here might have noted that the counter-rally participants were simply excercising their own right to free speech. While I'm sure tensions were high and bile was spewed from both sides of the fence, here, I can find nothing in the SFGate article about anyone demanding that anyone else's First-Amendment right be revoked.

The counter-rally is as central to American free speech as the rally itself. If a group of people came to my town and declared "cultural war" on me, I would not cheer them on. Would you?
posted by Maven Swift at 2:06 PM


Blogger Maj. M.T. Rational XXXIV said...

There are only two sides to any political issue. You're either for it or against it. You cannot be anywhere in the middle. Anyone who claims or insinuates that an issue is anything but black-and-white is a flip-flopper. Also anyone who believes the opposite of me is wrong.

March 27, 2006 8:35 PM  
Blogger loboinok said...

"official condemnations by various city officials), said SFans therefore believed that only non-religious liberals should have the right to free speech."

The Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, citing the city’s tradition of “tolerance,” issued a statement condemning the rally as an “act of provocation” by the “anti-gay,” “anti-choice” organization. Despite the sold-out venue and the enthusiastic response of the young people, the Board accused the rally of attempting to “negatively influence the politics of America's most tolerant and progressive city.”

Tolerance, however, is reserved in San Francisco for those who agree with the sexual revolution and leftist political viewpoint. Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, said Battle Cry’s “intolerance” of sexual promiscuity, pornography, the drug culture and homosexual deviance is “obnoxious” and “disgusting” and should, therefore, not be tolerated. “They should get out of San Francisco,” he said.
On Wednesday last week, the Board of Supervisors issued a similar declaration of official intolerance of Christian and traditional values. The Board said William Cardinal Levada’s instruction that Catholic Charities of San Francisco cease turning children over to homosexuals was “discriminatory and defamatory,” and “insulting.” They called Levada himself a “decidedly unqualified representative of his former home city.”

Earlier this year, when pro-life San Franciscans held a March for Life attended by thousands, the city again condemned the public expression of opposition to the abortion and euthanasia movement. A pro-life participant in the San Francisco march created a lengthy online photo essay which summarizes the counter-protester’s understanding of freedom of speech: “But who the hell do they think they are, saying that s___ here?”

Try giving us "the story" not "your story."

March 28, 2006 12:32 AM  
Blogger Maven Swift said...

Pardon me, loboinok, but I covered that in my post. Yeah, the city officials and the protestors said they didn't like the message that rally was promoting. They didn't say it very politely, either. Yes. I conceded that point already.

What they did *not* do, as you and the author of the American Thinker post suggest, is try to inhibit the rallygoers from exercising their right to free speech.

I'm going to throw a little piece of conservative rhetoric back at you here: "Tolerance doesn't mean I have to like it."

The rallygoers in San Fran don't have to like homosexuality, for example, or pornography or non-religious people or whatever else they believe the city stands for, but they do have allow others to like those things so long as they do not impinge upon anyone else's rights.

They also have to be ready to accept criticism, especially in a place like San Fran, full of exactly the sort of people whose sexual preferences and ways of life they are speaking out against.

Leno said they should leave the city, and he was fully within his rights when saying so. He didn't mobilze law enforcement to have them removed -- he simply said, in effect, "Man, those guys are terrible. I wish they would leave."

What's wrong with that? Would you not reserve the right to say the same thing if a group of people came to your town and objected voiciferously to your way of life?

March 28, 2006 10:20 AM  

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