Friday, May 26, 2006

Freedom of Speech vs. Responsibility for Consequences

You know, one of this nation's most precious freedoms is our freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to say whatever they want, to anyone they want. Even George W. Bush.

When he said to the insurgents in Iraq, "Bring it on," or when he told the world that Osama bin Laden was "wanted dead or alive," those were clear messages he now says were misinterpreted. He regrets saying them. He admits making a mistake.

I agree with him. He's far too late and too many lives have been lost as a result of his freedom to say those words....but I agree that it was a mistake to utter them.

I also agree that he had the right to say them.

I know. You're asking, "Archie, how can both those things can be true? How can you say someone has the right to say something but is wrong to have said it?"

I'm glad you asked. Let me try to explain.

Too often in this country we mistake personal freedom for being the limit to our social responsiblity. I would never argue for limits to our freedom of speech, but I will always stand up for using that freedom responsibly. You know, sort of like how some people say that you should be free to have a gun so long as you use it responsibly. It's not a perfect metaphor, but maybe it helps you see my point.

This is not an argument for censorship--telling someone not to say what they honestly want to say is wrong. Trying to get someone to understand why they might not want to say what they are thinking at any given moment is not wrong.

We all take risks in our daily lives. Getting up in the morning is a risk. Taking risks can be a virtue. What matters is knowing what we are risking before we decide to take those risks.

Sometimes, when we don't consider those consequences, our personal risks hurt people's feelings, end friendships, even injure people. Sometimes, as with George Bush's hasty words, the consequences are even more dire. George risked our safety and the lives of our men and women in uniform when he spoke those words.

How many innocent lives were lost because of George Bush's irresponsible rhetoric will never be known, but that lives were lost as a result is impossible to deny. And because he is a leader, millions of Americans followed his example--embracing a similar rhetoric that remains equally dangerous and irresponsible.

Words can be tools or they can be weapons. Whether you are the President of the United States or just another member of a community...My hope is that more people will use their words with responsibility, forethought, and an understanding of the consequences of the risks they take by using them.

I'd like to ask every American to use our words to help build something good in the world instead of using them to inspire us to hurt each other.

Transcript of Bush-Blair News Conference, NPR, May 26, 2006

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

US Rep. William Jefferson should resign

For the record, if any of you gleeful conservatives out there are asking where the wacko liberal fringe and the Democrats are on the issue of corruption when it comes to their own party....Let me be among the ones who want him to resign, attempt to clear his name (if he can) and stop allowing himself to be a distraction to the corruption scandals rocking the current administration.

If the Dems are going to attempt to claim the high ground, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard and come down even harder on our own when they fall short of the public trust than we would those in the opposition whose culture of corruption has become the order of the day.

From where I stand, proving innocence is going to be pretty difficult if they have him on tape and recovered the exact same money paid to him as a bribe.

US Rep. William Jefferson, I beg of you to do what is right and step down.

This is a disgrace, and cries out for justice.

For my part, it is perfectly understandable that Speaker Dennis Hastert is outraged at the FBI search, because it sets a precedent many Republicans are going to be very nervous about if the search for corruption is even handed.

Let's hope for the nation's sake that it is.

And while we're at it, vote for oversight this November. Vote for seperation of powers. Vote to make Congress relevant again. Vot for Democracy and not an Imperial President.

Vote Democrat for America.

Friday, May 19, 2006

I am laughing like a Frenchman!

Sorry for the lack of posting of late, it has been both a busy time, and a depressing one. I weep for the American nation.

But this morning, as CNN reported about the Senate proposal to make English the official language of America...well, I had to chuckle.

How many of these xenophobic, racist, bigoted butt wipes who want to make English the criteria by which the arms of America open to citizens and non-citizens alike could actually pass a proficiency test themselves? I teach for a living. I know their children have some real problems speaking and writing the only language they claim to know--or think they need to know.

And, of course, the real humor comes from the intense anti-French sentiment most of these people have....and yet it doesn't stop them from trying to create the same kind of English as Official Language they so often criticize the French for doing in their nation.

Here's a question for you "Freedom Lovers" who think I'm an "America Hater"--Doesn't freedom of speech include the language you use to speak?

Here's another question, is anyone interested in national security and border closing sitting in lawn chairs with a beer and a now-legal to own AK-47 along the Canadian border? Or is it just a national security concern if people are coming in from Mexico?

If memory serves, the lion's share of terrorists have come from that direction. And most of them flew. We'd need a pretty high fence if you want to stop the terrorists from getting into the country.

These people are idiots. But they are in charge. Because you let them. I don't care about Diebold. I know they stole the election, but that was only possible because people didn't turn out in overwhelming numbers and nobody lodged a legitimate protest about the election results and the conduct of elections in this country.

So, the buck stops with you.