Thursday, February 16, 2012

Back up....

Love it or hate are going to hear it.  Be an adult and don't have to agree but it is your civic duty to listen.

If anything tries to quell this voice, or any voice, fight it with all your heart.  You don't have to agree with the message but you must defend the rights of the messenger.

This is what our democracy is based on.

It is the pivot point where we fail or succeed.

This is the 1st Amendment.

Sinn Fe'in.


whitmergate said...

Amen and Amen.

Anonymous said...

No matter what the laws say, powerful people always have the "right" to say and do whatever they want.

Kings, dictators, even small scale power brokers in small towns can and do get away with every sort of egregious violation of lesser mortals.

What you and others have been doing is to reclaim the right to speak freely, to ask questions, and to search for answers for ordinary people.

In the Jewish tradition, to ask questions is a form of leadership. To question is to lead.

Asking questions of the text is one profound way of being a Jew; the questions themselves can lead you deeper into the tradition, or can dance you to the outside edges of it.

Either direction can deepen and expand your experience of the faith.

Hypocrites are uncomfortable with both the more conservative impulse to live the simple tenets of the faith with greater insight, and the more progressive impulse to take things in new directions.

Honest seekers value both approaches, do their best to choose the right one at the right time, and also to keep the conversation about those choices open to those choosing the other path on a given issue.

Your blog is one of our household's favorite venues for interesting midrash on the American experience.

Thank you.

Jason Brad Berry said...

"No matter what the laws say, powerful people always have the "right" to say and do whatever they want. "

We all have the right to say and do whatever we want.

Jason Brad Berry said...

That's a metaphorical "kill". I mean I will defend the process with my life.

Jason Brad Berry said...

However, "with my life" is literal.

The 1st amendment is what separates us from the fools that came before us. I refuse to be bound by ignorance.

Anonymous said...

You are defending this right with your life. It isn't just about dying to defend it. The way you are living your life defends this principle. You've been using it to speak truth to power.

Some use their rights to call The President's wife a Sasquatch or to do other shitty things. Those stupid losers have a much right to speak as you do, and their right to their speech should be defended if it comes up in a law court; however, it should, in my opinion, be rebutted and rebuked if it is encountered in the flesh.

Luckily, there is also a right to freely choose with whom you are going to associate.

No one should force anyone to hang out with people who spew hateful things. It's one thing to protect their right to say it, another to be asked to pretend that it's appropriate, or to put up with it in your home.

Here's an example:

Years ago, a nasty relative told my girlfriend that because we were unmarried when the baby was born, she should have had an abortion. She went on from there, and my girlfriend and child were in total shock.

When we told this old bat exactly what we thought of her opinion, she got upset. First, she defended her right to say any hateful thing that popped into her disgusting little head, and next, she told us that we were being "mean" to her!

(This from a bitch who suggested our kid should be dead because we hadn't paid a man in authority for his permission to form our family.)

Then, she said that by speaking back to her, we were disturbing the peace of my mother's house.

She assumed that her "free speech" and free expression gave voice to normative views, and was therefore alright; she also assumed that she was the "kind of" person who deserved to be able to speak freely. In her eyes, she is a "good person", so her rights "count."

We are scandalous people who do things out of order, so we deserve censure, expulsion from the human community, and our baby should have died.

Our right to tell her to go to hell was World War Three, and "impolite".

If it is going to be a world of free speech for everyone, and not just for the powerful, the social conditions that would allow the targets of verbal hate to push back need to exist.

We've made it clear that we aren't exposing our tiny portion of the family to any more of that shit (she's been like this for years), and our relatives have made their choices accordingly.

She complains about how lonely she is and calls us selfish.

She attacked my kid, so she can suck it, as far as I'm concerned.

That libel tourism bullshit that hit slabbed was lame, and I'm glad they aren't bowing to it.

I don't see any contradiction in also noting that there are a lot of gay kids who suffer through and go so far as to commit suicide over the "free speech" of their family members.

If they are minors their ability to take care of themselves on their own might be limited. They take huge risks if they run away from harm at home to try to find a safer place.

Their speech needs to be as free as ours was.

Part of that means that relatives of haters can't use first amendment justifications for letting bullies bully. The bully bullies, you have to push back. Let them speak, and then you speak right back.