Here’s a ‘get it off my chest item’: I’m disgusted with both Clintons right now. This is a new event for me. I understand intellectually the reasons Bill Clinton is campaigning for Obama. I also know he knows he’s blowing smoke. The man has no respect for Obama and probably has a large dollop of contempt. Bill Clinton is doing what I suppose he feels he must do. However, I’m human, I get to cop to my real feelings: He’s groveling and it’s grating and disappointing.
Hillary is more disturbing of late. Again, I know she’s doing her job. But I also know she knows that her State Department employees were not killed because of a breathtakingly bad “film” made in a SoCal back yard. They were murdered in a terrorist attack. Towing the administration line on the “film” is pure politics. Obama needs it to be about hurt feelings and she’s going along to an alarming degree.
The dynamic here is simple and gross. H. Clinton may want to run in 2016. B. Clinton very much wants her to do just that. Obama has seized control of the party apparatus. If the Clintons don’t play along now, the Obama wing may not play along then. That’s the thinking. It’s specious thinking, of course, as Obama won’t keep his side of the deal if something else comes along…say a Presidential library campaign fund. I assure you Obama’s library will be over the top, tacky and pricey.
The more important point is the First Amendment which seems to be an afterthought for Mrs. Clinton in this drama so far. Her speech at the Clinton Initiative, while better than previous comments, still focused on the film as the problem. The film is not the problem. The problem is a vast swatch of this planet believes speech ought to be curtailed, and that their religion deserves a waiver from our central and centering right. Crappy, offensive films about religion are protected in the United States because speech is protected. Speech is protected. THAT is the only thing that needs to be said. She needs to be saying it without equivocation or explanation.
Most controversies land in the gray area. This one does not. We need a Secretary of State that is unequivocal about free speech. We are in the right here. Those who think insulting one particular religion is out-of-bounds in this country are wrong. Period.
The proper response to offensive speech in a civilized society is more speech. Not genuflection to “hurt feelings”. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances…. is not concerned with our feelings. The Founders did not care about what you or I might feel about the obnoxious preacher down the way. Or, if they did, they didn’t think our feelings trumped the creation of a free and muscular republic.
Free speech is not an aspiration – it’s who we are. If, in some questionably American quarters, a film is to be blamed for the murder of 4 people this only makes the squishy response emanating from the current administration all the more upsetting. This is American Society 101. Speech is protected. A medieval killing spree in response to it is not. Mrs Clinton or Barack Obama or any other American need not make excuses about this. Our rights – given to us by God or natural law, – are not subject to anyone’s feelings.
And we can all thank God for that.