A Swift Kick to Free Speech
President Bush is now requesting that all 527s cease their activity, rather than specifically requesting that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth cease their ads. This request misses the mark by a wide margin; he’s now attacking a foundational principal rather than attacking specific instances of indecency.
In the end, I support the concept of 527s because to do otherwise would be to ignore the foundational principal of free speech. We are free to make a determination as to when speech crosses a line, and then condemn or cease to participate in specific instances of speech.
By choosing to not condemn the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’s ads, and instead focusing on killing all 527 activity, Pres. Bush is asking for a cessation of all speech, rather than specifically condemning those instances of speech that cross a line of decency.
Seemingly unable to navigate the nuances of a difficult issue, the Bush administration would rather take blunt, bright line positions. This, however, is difficult to do in a free society; I expect the leader of the free world to be able to distinguish the difference.
Could not have said this better myself. Of all the reasons why George Bush has been bad for America this example ranks in the top ten. America is founded on the obligation of the citizens to speak out, to express their opinions. Mr. Bush and his supporters seem extremely afraid of dissent; they seem to be afraid of discussion; they are willing to question the patriotism of anyone who does not see things their way–rather than engage in a debate or honest discussion. This mindset comes from weakness and fear rather than honesty and strength. My question is why does the media and many of our neighbors let him and his supporters get away with this?
I’m not an American but the thing that gets me about Bush, even from afar, is that he doesn’t ever seem to know his stuff…feigned emotionalism compensating for lack of intellectualism. I have always found him to be frustratingly vague. In terms of foreign policy, towards Canada in particular, his approach has been frighteningly simplistic from the very beginning of his term. Kerry HAS to win! (I’d take Clinton if he just hadn’t served two terms already!)
I worry about a solution to bad speech that proposes to eliminate speech — rather like death as a cure for cancer.