Monday, March 10, 2008

For the Sake of Free Speech: A Few Caveats About My Condemnation of Kern (Which Still Stands)

I do want to stress that Kern, like all Americans, has a right to speak her opinion, as hateful and ignorant as it may be.

In the coming days, we might see more on people demanding an apology or insisting she need not apologize.

Her clip on CNN shows her refusing to apologize.

My take

I kind of think the apology is not the main issue. I'm more concerned that this bigoted person is a lawmaker.

The whole insistence on the apology suggests that the words themselves were the crime, and she must now recant them to make amend for this injury.

There are some problems with this stance.

It requires anyone who speaks their beliefs to apologize for them if their words upset enough people, and upsets them enough.

It also means they can't speak their beliefs anymore.

This does not bide well with free speech.


while lawmakers have a right to free speech, we have a right to judge them on the words that they say.

From Kern's words, the proof if clear: this lawmaker is motivated by anti-gay bigotry.

Victory Fund is absolutely right to depict her as the speaker, owner, and believer of her words. She herself defends these words as her beliefs.

So let her speak, and let us judge her for it.

She makes this job easy for us. There is no subtley to her prejudice.

If there should be a backlash, I want it to be less "you should not say that", and more:

"you deserve to get de-elected."

As one of the sigh-holders in the Victory ad says, Kern represents neither her gay constuents nor her constuents who have gay friends or family.


Final thoughts on "hate speech"

I think it is fair for many of us to declare Kern's words hate speech.

I also believe hate speech can have damaging consequences, such as spreading false fear about groups of people.

However, the key word is "can", and it should be noted Kern was in a meeting with 50 people. Other than the secret taping, there was no sign of cameras to spread the false message eleswhere. Of course, some of those people might have brought recording devices to take home and their budding teenage children might have been a victimized captive audience. But I'm only speculating.

We don't know how hate speech will cause damage, but we should be on the alert, and speak out against it, and counteract the lies.

But we may have to respect hate speech as a First Amendment right.

We should also take this opportunity to mark her words as proof of who she is as lawmaker.

She herself does not deny believing her words.

I believe she has First Amendment right to speak them.

Let's use our First Amendment right to advocate for her finding a new job in the coming election.

1 comment:

freewomansholyinheritance said...

But, then, that means she would have had to respect our First Amendment right to hate speech, doesn't it, or anyone else in a similar position, no?