WASHINGTON D.C.—Over the past few weeks in America, we’ve witnessed a major political figure defend the use of the “n” word by a prominent conservative voice over the radio. The argument was that the radio host is now being silenced and that her First Amendment right to free speech has been taken from her. There are so many politicians quoting the U.S. Constitution without ever reading it. If anyone took the time to read the Constitution, they would see that it states the freedom of speech is a right given to all Americans, and that the government cannot silence us and cannot force censorship upon us as long as we are not threatening others or creating danger for others. However, it is a responsibility for those of us who have a voice in the media to be aware that although we have the right to say whatever we want, there are responsibilities and consequences for what we say.
Recently, there was the case of Dr. Laura who was defended by former Governor Sarah Palin for using the “n” word not once but 11 times during a three-minute call. A person had sought Dr. Laura’s advice and empathy for the racist words she had endured at the hands of her husband’s white friends. Dr. Laura certainly has the right to use the “n” word and almost all others as long as they are not considered threatening, but there are consequences for the use of vulgar and racially charged epithets. There may be a boycott against your radio or TV station or newspaper, your advertisers or you personally. Even though the U.S. state and local governments do not infringe on your speech, it does not mean that your words will not have consequences with the public or your audience.
In the last few days, a Bush administration official, who worked with Karl Rove and others in the White House, chose to use the social and wedge issue to bring the matter of gay marriage to the ballot box in Ohio during the 2004 presidential election. This was a political move made in order to gain re-election votes for President George W. Bush. He has now announced that he in fact is gay, but at the time, he played with the rights of fellow gay men and women in America to retain his position within the Republican Party. Six years later, this man now asks for empathy and forgiveness from not only gays and lesbians but also the American people, which he stood before and stated that being gay is a choice.
Now do you see why young people and bright individuals, who we need to help solve our problems today, want absolutely nothing to do with politics? It’s akin to slaves snitching on runaway slaves; Jews who divulged identities and locations of other Jews to the Nazis in hopes that they would be protected; or blacks who were hired in the 1950s and ’60s, who were put on FBI payrolls as informants on people such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., so that the civil rights movement could be monitored by a government that wanted to infringe on the rights of African Americans at the time.
Perhaps we should stop quoting the U.S. Constitution and its Amendments and start living with empathy in our hearts for others, and, most importantly, we should try not to take freedoms away from others in our quest for political power.
Please pray for our brave troops who are in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting the terrorists and those who wish us harm.