Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hello, Mr. McCarthy

Ah, yes, free speech. Something every American is guaranteed in the US Constitution under Amendment 1 of the Bill of Rights...quoted, here, for your convenience:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Of course, allow me to go on a tangent for a moment regarding this erroneous idea of the "separation of church and state." As you can clearly read in the document, that phrase does not exist. Please stop claiming it. I'm referencing this story and the people who say "religion doesn't belong in a public school." Bullpucky. Are you afraid the kids may actually stop carrying guns and grow a sense of morality? On top of that, it's an elective so they don't have to take it if they don't want to. Maybe if you'd paid attention in your government class, you'd know the Constitution a little bit better. All that amendment means is that there's not an established National religion--like Church of England. Or Catholicism. Or Muslim. Or Taoism. Hindu. Whatever. "I'll take 'A Clue' for $1000, Alex."

Moving on.

It seems our right to speak freely is constantly being abridged. "How, Rogue Assassin?" I hear you ask. In this news video from CNN, a young woman was asked to leave the SSA building in Van Nuys, CA (sadly, yes, this was in California), because her t-shirt was offensive.

If you didn't watch the video, it's a white t-shirt with small, black letters that read: "" That's right. That's all. It didn't swear at you, tell you that you smell like poo, have Calvin peeing on a religious symbol, or even have some derogatory message written on it. It just gave a website that happens to be for the gay/lesbian movement. Somehow, the security guard found this to be offensive.

She was told to leave or she'd go to jail.

"Pat, I'd like to buy a clue, please?"

Since when has what I have written on my t-shirt--my own personal property and testament to my existence--land me in jail? That, right there, violates my right to speak my mind. If I choose to wear something that calls black people "niggers," well, that's on me. Offensive or not, that may just be my opinion. If I choose to wear a t-shirt with a guy, a girl, a dog, a sheep, and an oven on it and the phrase, "F**K ALL!" that's my right. The pledge doesn't just say, "...with justice for all." It's "...with liberty and justice for all." Hmmm...that phrase sounds familiar....

Okay, so she wasn't escorted to prison and the security guard is facing some sort of punishment. But, how much do you want to bet her name ends up on this mysterious Terror-Watch List? That list that grounds you from flying. That list you don't know that you're on until you've purchased plane tickets and try to check in. That list you have to fill out an application, wait for them to "get around to" reviewing it, then decide if you should or shouldn't be on the list after they talk to you--and never tell you the results. Yeah. That terror-watch list...

The one that Drew Griffin found his name on. Coincidentally, it was -after- he ran an article on the Federal Air Marshal's program. Refusing to show ID (though not legally required) could also land you on that no-fly list. Why? Because you're calling your own rights into the situation. Is it really constitutional for the Department of Homeland security to--without probable cause or warrant--search your person and belongings? Nope. See, that's in Amendment 4 of the Bill of Rights. In fact, I wrote about that one already.

What it's boiling down to, is McCarthyism all over again. Huh. That's funny. "McCarthyism" is an actual word. Didn't come up on my spell-check as not existing. Don't know what it is? Look it up! How is this a return to that era? Because in order to get off that no-fly list, you have to convince the Department of Justice--or Homeland Security--that you are, in fact, not a terrorist. They have to agree with you. Hello? Anyone paying attention here? That list grows by 20,000 names per month. Really. Are there that many known terrorists? Here, I thought they were all Al Quida and pretty noticeable. Like Ron White says, "If I'm fixin' to get on a plane, and the guy ahead of me needs two loads of phlegm just to say his name, I'm checking his shoes for fuses. That's ain't racism...that's profilin'!"

When they outlaw speaking out, only those speaking out will be outlaws. Which is pretty much anyone who has a brain and chooses to use it.

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