Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | September 20, 2009

The Bedrock Of The Republic

I am amused—for utter loss of a better description—by the folks bemoaning the fact that President Obama has been frustrated in trying to have his way with America.  They have tried every means possible to completely stifle dissent—let alone debate—on the health care initiative and other issues.  They have attacked talk radio and conservative news networks (read: Fox News); they have pounced upon average US citizens bold enough to say “enough is enough!” at town hall meetings; they have—to their complete shame—now even invoked race, trotting out that old relic Jimmy Carter last week to try to make legitimate their charges of racism.

Yes, this spectacle  is amusing.  It is also scary.  We are now seeing the true colors of those who would smoother that which is paramount to a robust, thriving democracy: free speech.  Free speech is truly the bedrock of our republic; without it we simply cease to exist.  Those who oppose the critics and the criticisms of this government also seem to oppose the “right” to criticize—the “right” to dissent—that should be cherished by all Americans regardless of their political bent; it is despicable that their route to shutting down dissent is to call you a racist if you oppose them.  And they know that if they can paint you as a racist, you will be effectively marginalized; they will have shut you up.  But they will have done more than that; they will have succeeded in undermining free speech, in digging up the bedrock, and in pouring quicksand into the void—quicksand that will quickly consume your other few remaining freedoms.

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Responses

  1. Mike: With a very few changes this post could be that of the other side. Apparently you feel that the screaming we hear from the right is “free speech”, but any disagreements are attempts to “stifle” free speech? As far as the “racism” remarks, what about those of your man Glen Beck? At least President Carter didn’t scream his remarks and didn’t accuse anyone in particular.

    • Bill: So I do actually have people reading this stuff. Thanks for dropping by. My thoughts are these:

      1. Yes, the screaming is “free speech;” it is “protected” under our constitution, even though it is not the speech that I would personally engage in. It is protected speech for Rush Limbaugh and for Glen Beck, just the same as it is for Al Sharpton (who, incidentally, I happen to like, even though I disagree with him on many issues), for Jesse Jackson, for Howard Dean, and for others who happen to scream on occasion.

      2. The issue that I have with the “other” side is that when they perceive that they are beginning to lose the battle of ideas, they pull out the trump card, which happens to be the race card. I am not saying at all that racism doesn’t exist; indeed it does. I have witnessed it myself too many times to deny that it exists. But, to my way of thinking, the race card today is played solely to silence critics and criticism. Thus, the point that I was trying to make: It’s not about race; it’s about smothering free speech and, thus, silencing dissent.

      3. Can the dialogue be more civil? Yes, it can be; and it should be. I happen to enjoy Rush, and Glen to a degree (though I would hardly think of either as “my man”). I listen to one hour of Rush a day; I listen to two or more hours of NPR per day. I watch NBC news in the evening. I normally have CNN on when Glen Beck’s show is on because I prefer hard news to editorial content (which is what Beck’s show is for the most part). I think I am fairly well-balanced in regard to the various viewpoints out there.

      4. President Carter did not scream his remarks, as you said. However, frankly, I think I would put him in the category of “useful idiot” for the extreme left at this point. I have tried—believe me—to maintain a certain amount of respect for the former president. He has done a world of good in many ways in the time that he has been out of office. But it gets more and more difficult every time he weighs in on political issues. Personally, I think that his comments on race were way off base and, frankly, dead wrong. The black population of the country in 2008 was something around 13%. Yet, we know that it takes somewhere around 50% to elect a president. It is apparent that more than black folks were voting for Barack Obama in the last election. If racism is as pervasive as President Carter would have us believe, President Obama would never have been elected.

      I’ll rest my case here. Nice to hear from you again, and thanks for your comments.

  2. Mike: I appreciate your replies to my comments.
    But you didn’t deal with the fact that Beck called President Obama “a racist” and said that “he hates white people”. Wasn’t that playing “the race card”? And he was saying these before President Carter weighed in.
    I also believe that President Carter deserves more respect than you give him. He is a godly man.

  3. I haven’t heard Beck call the president a racist, so I can’t really speak to that; I don’t spend a lot of time listening to Beck, though. I watch a little of his Fox News show now and then, but I have never heard his radio show. The “race card,” however, seems to me to be a smoke screen used primarily by the left to move debate away from the issue at hand and to put the opposition on the defense. At its most insidious, I believe, it serves to limit free speech by making certain speech politically incorrect. Continuing down this road will ultimately result in certain speech becoming illegal. We are already seeing something of this with so-called “hate speech,” but that gets into a different subject.

    As for President Carter, your point is well taken. Yes, he does deserve more respect than my comments would indicate. And I do have much respect for him. On this particular issue, however, I really do believe that he is off base, and I strongly suspect that he is a being used as a tool by some quarters to facilitate the restriction of debate and further their agenda.


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