Surprise! Sarah Palin doesn’t understand Freedom of Speech!
Every day in America, there are people who lose their jobs for saying the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It happened to me 45 years ago when I publicly said something disparaging about the company for which I worked. Did I have a right to say what I said without the government coming down on me? Of course I did. Did the company have a right to send me packing? Of course it did.
You see, Freedom of Speech is no guarantee against any and all kinds of backlash for saying something someone might find offensive. It’s simply a guarantee, in most cases, against the government punishing you for what you say.
This distinction seems lost on some people, as we see in the controversy over anti-gay remarks made by Phil Robertson, star of the reality-TV show “Duck Dynasty.” The A&E network has suspended Robertson from the show for an indefinite period — and right-wingers across the land are complaining that the spirit, if not the letter, of the First Amendment has somehow been violated.
HERE‘s what Sarah Palin said on Facebook:
Free speech is an endangered species. Those intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.
Palin would do well, it seems to me, to file suit for educational malpractice against the school that tried to teach her the basics of the First Amendment.
LZ Granderson of CNN has put the controversy in proper perspective with this:
You can say some stupid stuff — whether it’s Paula Deen dropping the N-word, Alec Baldwin dropping the F-word, Jesse Jackson using a derogatory word for Jewish people as he talks about New York City — or Bobby Knight infamously saying, “I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it.” — and the First Amendment will keep you from going to jail. But it is not a get-out-of-jail-free card in the eyes of society.
And if you don’t believe me — try walking into your boss’ office and call him or her a big fat idiot with ugly children.
Then see if ‘freedom of speech helps you keep your job.