Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Freedom of Speech
With the election over and the results disappointing, I have been thinking a lot about the Freedom of Speech. What constitutes speech and who decides? We have been told that burning the American Flag is protected speech, the hate spewed by the KKK and their ilk is protected speech, but you can't have the Ten Commandments in a public building because of the separation of church and state, which, by the way is not in the Constitution. The entire concept was taken from a personal letter written by Thomas Jefferson and it was never Jefferson's intention to keep church out of government, but to keep government out of the church...but that is another blog for another day. Today I was sent a news story about a man named Jesse Nieto. Mr. Nieto is a 25 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps who did 2 full tours of duty in Vietnam (not the 18 week, whateverthehellthatwas that John Kerry did). Mr. Nieto's son Marc was killed on the U.S.S. Cole. Today Mr. Nieto is a civilian contractor working at Camp LeJune in North Carolina. He was pulled over by the MP's the day before yesterday and given a ticket for having this decal on the back of his truck:
He was told that he was not allowed to drive on government installations with "objectionable material" on his vehicle. Government installations include Arlington Cemetary where his son, killed by Al Qaeda, is buried. Now, I don't really have a problem with government installations and buildings having rules, but the rules should be the same for everyone....people drive in those places with anti Christian bumper stickers but that doesn't seem to be "objectionable", regardless of what other people think, I believe that Mr. Nieto has EARNED the right to say whatever the hell he wants.
And, at the risk of offending or upsetting people, I think Muslims need to get over themselves. It may certainly be the case that not ALL Muslims are terrorists, but it was Muslims that murdered Mr. Nieto's son and 16 other sailors that day and it was out of religious fanaticism. They believed they were doing the will of Allah. It WAS Muslims that murdered nearly 3,000 people on 9/11/01 and they did it out of religious fanaticism. So while the majority of Muslims are peaceful and not much different than us, this group of fanatics are following the teachings of the Koran and are killing those they perceive to be infidels. They have the right, here in America, to stand on the street, scream "Death to America" and burn our Flag and that is protected speech, but Mr. Nieto's decal....offensive. That distinction is what I find offensive.