Friday, July 03, 2015

Free To Be You And Me

I recently got a mailing from my Senators, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.  They want to overturn the Citizens United decision.

There are a number of ways to do this, and their favorite seems to be by Constitutional Amendment.  It's amazing how proud they are to change our Constitution to make sure political speech will be limited.

Their material spreads all the usual nonsense about the opinion, but I'm not going to rehearse all the arguments here.  I just want to note, as we enjoy the fireworks this weekend, let's remember one of the great things about America is you can speak freely, especially about politicians.  And the time to speak about them is during an election campaign, the very period they want most to regulate that freedom.

As incumbents, Feinstein and Boxer have a huge advantage, but that's not enough for them--they'd like to prevent some potential criticism from even happening.  Indeed, they want me to sign a petition to further their wishes.  And send in money.  Wait a second, money?  I thought that was the problem.  Guess it's only a problem when people use it to support bad ideas.


Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I rewatched the HBO John Adams mini-series this weekend. It really is a fine work, if it has some significant factual errors (i.e. Adams cast the deciding vote to approve the Treaty with France in a split Senate, though Treaties have always required a 2/3 majority vote).

I was interested in their take on the Alien & Sedition. The show would have you believe Adams as President was tricked into signing the Act by the unscrupulous Alexander Hamilton (who also manipulated the aging Washington).

The Democratic Republicans (Jefferson's party) accused the Federalists (Adams wasn't really a party member, but Hamilton was), of trying to silence the opposition. Of course their party went on to win the election in 1800, so I guess it didn't work. In fact, Jefferson used the Acts to arrest several people during his tenure (there were seditious activities funded by foreign governments acting in the fledgling US).

Not that I think the Acts were constitutional (they were never tested before they expire and people were arrested for speaking certain thoughts), it's just that I think even the most heavy handed effort to silent speech is doomed to failure - people talk, and money will be spent to enhance speech no matter what the laws say. We might as well encourage more speech and let the mass of voices vie against each other in open, unrestricted forums.

8:06 AM, July 06, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

It's not easy to shut people up, but it can still be done. And it's not always about being heavy-handed--that can backfire. Just making it harder for some people to speak can sometimes be enough.

9:53 AM, July 06, 2015  

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