Frankly, most of these people are acting like spoiled children, and they're pissing me off big time with their wild accusations, faulty logic and general attitude problems. I wanted to jump in there and tell them to get anally violated by an angry pit bull with genital herpes. But I stopped to think about it for a minute -- my mother always said cooler heads will prevail, and every now and then I'm reminded of this when one of my ranting e-mail at work comes back to haunt me (or backfires entirely). I started to think about the motivation some of these people have. A few are definitely out to make Aureth look bad, or to infuriate him to the point he says something that wouldn't be proper for the chief editor of a news site to say. Others are genuine in their anger (either way) about the topic. Others are just there to stir the pot and see what sort of reactions they can get from either side of the line; they'll be happy just as long as somebody falls for their trolling and spits venom.
At this point I started to remember just what a double-edged sword free speech really can be. Believe me when I say that I'm proud of the First Amendment. I personally think it's one of the greatest things about our society and our country: everyone has a right to speak out, and nobody needs to be afraid to. Is it misused? Perhaps. No, I take that back -- it almost certainly is. As an example: I certainly have no love for those hate-filled folk over at the KKK, who try to hide their fear and anger behind spin and rhetoric about how they "don't hate blacks, just want them to stay in their place and let the white race stay pure." Hitler's party line revisited, and then some. No matter how they pretty it up I can see the amazing amount of hate they have, and I feel nothing but contempt for them because of it. I also don't much dig on the way some protests have been staged by various sides of the "right to life" debate. All around me, people are saying or doing things that go against my beliefs and the values I was raised with (as well as the ones I developed for myself as I grew up). I don't like it when flags are burned, for another example. There are any number of things that offend me or go against my beliefs that are said and done every day, and they are protected by the right to free speech, no matter what I think of it.
To come back to an example... I've already mentioned that I don't like burning flags -- I'm entirely against it, I think it's a disrespectful thing to do towards your country and towards the men and women who have served it and died for it. Partly I feel this way because my father volunteered to the Army and went to fight in Vietnam, putting his life on the line for his belief that what his country was doing was right, even if thousands of other people disagreed and called him a murderer. I was outraged that people would say this sort of thing about people who were travelling thousands of miles away from their homes and dying, away from family and friends, from warmth and comfort, alone in a strange place.
So you can see where am going with this. I mean, it was patently obvious within the first paragraph, wasn't it? Surely you understand why I say Freedom of Speech is a double-edged sword: I love being able to say what I think and believe, but I absolutely loathed some of the things that were being said. I WANTED some of this sort of speech to be stopped. Gay bashing, racism, any number of things -- I wanted it to go away. But then I started to think...where would I be if we outlawed that? What if somebody found what I was saying to be offensive or threatening? It wouldn't be hard to be threatened at times by some of the beliefs I hold and speak out on -- I'm a firm believer in the right to bear arms, for example.
So... I still want it to go away. But I want it to go away because of the right reasons, not because we put a lid on it and shoved it under the couch like some dirty secret. That never fixed anything, look at what a total and complete flop prohibition was. So, as time went on, I became more focused on desiring to see the First Amendment protected, even if some of the things it protected offended me. When I heard that legislation was being drafted to make flag burning illegal several years back I got very upset and voiced my opinion via a letter to my representative (who knows if it ever got read, but I made the effort and that's what matters most to me). I may not agree with what these people saying -- hell, I may be violently opposed to it -- but I simply cannot begrudge them their right to speak their opinion, because I fully expect to be able to speak mine in return. Sure, it's easy to play armchair politics and decide what's right and what's wrong, and say "That sort of thing should be made illegal." But when you start to think about the larger ramifications, you start to see things aren't so black and white. And besides, if you only play armchair politics and voice your opinion in a know-it-all manner, but never get off your duff to do anything about it, I think you've already given up any real rights you have to bitch. I hear during every presidential race how this thing or that thing is never going to be addressed or change, but nobody ever bothers to get off their ass and ride their reps about it, or get the media to ask the candidates about the issue. God does that piss me off to no end.
And it's been awhile
Since I can say I love myself as well.