Letters to the Editor

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SPEECH: Political rhetoric is a civil right

Letter by Scott St. Clair, Olympia on Jan. 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm with 11 Comments »
January 18, 2011 3:07 pm

The editorial on nasty political rhetoric (TNT, 1-14) condemned “political hyperbole, sarcasm, name-calling and mud-slinging” without acknowledging one overriding fact: It’s constitutionally protected free speech.

While name-calling is rude, it’s a civil right; free speech isn’t limited to restrained speech. Of course, calling out a name-caller is also a civil right, since the free-speech sword cuts both ways. Knock yourself out.

As the culture has become more coarse, so has communication in it become harder, sharper and more shrill. But you can’t dismissively attribute this to “the Internet, shout radio, attack television and other rage amplifiers.” Been to a slasher movie lately or heard what passes for popular entertainment, much of which is advertised in The News Tribune? Welcome to “you reap what you sow.”

The ultimate contempt for American democracy isn’t the content of speech, offensive and hateful though it may be, but the censorship of it. The News Tribune zealously defends protections afforded it under the First Amendment, but gets a little slippery-slope-ish when it comes to protections afforded others.

If you’re going to tell some to mind their rhetorical manners, please tell others to keep their hands, and their speech codes, off.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. Teenagers insist upon their rights without any restrictions

    Adults recognize that responsibility comes with freedom.

  2. … and in order for there to be responsibilty, there must also be accountability… something sorely lacking in this day and age.

  3. Gasp……..we agree!

  4. Free speech is a Right, Violence against those who we disagree with is NOT!

  5. I was gasping as well.

  6. Thinking about responsibility ,accountability, and that we are in agreement leaves me wondering how that squares with agreement with FLamo about not grading students. It’s contradictory.

  7. I have become a whatIdo fan. Does that make me a stalker?


  8. Only if you save his posts for re-posting…..

  9. Your fall back position is arrogance and insults.

    Submitted by beerBoy on September 22, 2008 – 11:42am.


  10. like clockwork…..

  11. The truly sad thing is you thought that was a really clever response.

    Submitted by beerBoy on September 28, 2008 – 6:50pm.


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