Wick Communications

Dr. Laura’s confusion

In First Amendment on 27 Aug 2010 at 8:32 am

The First Amendment is a nifty little 45-word sentence that serves as the cornerstone of our democracy. It protects us from laws infringing our freedom of speech, assembly and religion. It’s pretty cool. But it does not relieve us of taking responsibility for the things we say.

This is apparently news to Dr. Laura Schlessinger. And possibly Sarah Palin, too.

Now before I go a step further, please understand: I am not talking politics or addressing things that either woman has said up to this point in history. I just want to talk about their interpretation of the First Amendment for a moment.

Last week Schlessinger said she was quitting the radio after getting some flak for repeatedly using an epithet to describe African-Americans. Here’s what she told Larry King:

“The reason is I want to regain my First Amendment rights,” she told King. “I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry, some special interest group deciding this is the time to silence a voice of dissent and attack affiliates, attack sponsors. I’m sort of done with that.” …

This was followed by the following tweet of support from former vice presidential candidate Palin:

Dr.Laura:don’t retreat…reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American,not fair”)

As advocates of personal responsibility, both women should know that there is nothing in the First Amendment that relieves the speaker of responsibility for her words. It merely says you are free to put your foot in your mouth. It doesn’t protect you from sanction by an angry public or employer.

The First Amendment does so many important things. Protection from your own stupidity is not among them.



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