Not long ago a wingnut redneck posted some crazy screed about boycotting the Dixie Chicks. And I responded...
So, I’m assuming that you also boycott the Letterman show, because of the adultery. And all of Tiger Woods’ tournaments and sponsors, and Robin Williams’ movies…
And I suppose you burned all your Michael Jackson records when you found out he was a pedophile and a drug addict.
And all the movies of all those actors and actresses who are addicts who had to go to rehab – you don’t watch their movies, you don’t listen to their records, right?
And I guess you don’t watch football or basketball at all, because of all the players who have been arrested?
And you boycotted the work of Russell Crowe, for being a violent boor. Or Tom Cruise for being just plain nuts. Bonnie Raitt, a drunk. James Brown? Johnny Cash, a case of beer a day? Waylon and Willie? Hank Williams? Mel Gibson’s a racist, so goodbye too all the Mad Maxes and Lethal Weapons. All those actors and musicians who died from overdoses – you burned their movies and records the next day, right? Jimi Hendrix, Belushi, half of the Who? All your Elvis memorabilia went in the trash too? To make a full list of all the people whose works you’d have to destroy, would also be cruel.
Throw all this evil stuff on the bonfire, Doctor Goebbels!
So assuming you didn’t do these things, then either you think that exercising free speech is worse that murder, drug addiction or adultery, or you’re a hypocrite.
Oh, and by the way, a huge proportion of those country musicians you grew up on, were overwhelmingly cranked up on amphetamines while they did it.
So, if you don't like the Dixie Chicks, swell. Let's start a new Tea Party movement, to shut down people who say things that rub us the wrong way.
We'll even rewrite the First Amendment, juuuuuust for you. Something like...this:
Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech...except for people who say stuff we don't like.
Of course, if that is the way the rules are written, then many of the voices that drove our nation forward -- voices demanding the abolition of slavery, demanding the vote for women, demanding civil rights legislation, protesting the Vietnam War, demanding safe water and consumer products and clean air -- would all have been silenced.
And you know who else would have been silenced? All of your conservative heroes. The anti-evolution Bible-beaters of the 1920s, the isolationists of the 1930s, the anti-Communist crusaders of the 1950s, the anti-tax revolutionaries of the 1970s who spawned the Reagan revolution, the anti-abortion crusade, the anti-gay crusade, the Tea Party protesters, the Swiftboaters....
All human progress begins with some guy saying something new and scary that freaks out the people around him. WIthout unpopular speech, we'd all still be swinging from the trees.
Of course some still do.