Friday, April 24, 2009
Freedom Friday 4.24.09
Welcome to Freedom Friday! Oh, and this is my 100th post so "Happy 100 to me!"
If you're new here and want to know more about how Freedom Friday got started, read this post. If you're concerned about the Freedom Friday logo, I explain it here.
Today's principle is: It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
“In a free and republican government, you cannot restrain the voice of the multitude; every man will speak as he thinks, or more properly without thinking.”
- George Washington
As a side note, in the quote above by George Washington, the word "republican" does NOT mean Republican party. Contrary to popular belief, our country is NOT a democracy but a republic. A republic is a form of government based on the concept that sovereignty resides in the people, who delegate the power to rule in their behalf to elected representatives and officials. A democracy is government by the people, especially rule of the majority.
Today the terms are used interchangeably but to our founding fathers there was an important distinction. In the 18th century democracy was normally understood in its original Greek sense of direct rule by the entire populace. The idea was that all the voters would meet regularly to make laws and debate issues. The founders recognized that eventually that would result in mob rule so they established a republic which would still leave ulimate power in the hands of the people but permit efficiency of government through elected representatives.
Are you bored yet? Sorry I went off on a tangent there. But don't you feel informed now?!
Back to today's principle.
I think that this principle and its violation is best understood by looking at Janeane Garafolo's view of dissent: then and now.
Janeane Garafolo in September, 2003 defending anti-American remarks by Johnny Depp:
"There has been so many inappropriate responses to dissent, which is the most patriotic thing you can do. And the First Amendment guarantees everyone's right to speak out. The pillorying that was endured by the Dixie Chicks and Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins and now Johnny Depp is absurd. And, again, it is promulgated by the kind of Archie Bunker mentality that dominates the right wing of the Republican Party and also right-wing radio and some of the faux populist right-wing cable news shows."
Ok. So dissent, when a Republican is president, is patriotic.
Janeane Garafolo in 2009 when asked about the Tax Day Tea Parties held around the country on April 15th:
"Let's be very honest about what this is about. This is not about bashing Democrats. It's not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea party was about. They don't know their history at all. It's about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up...The limbic brain inside a rightwinger or Republican or conservative or your average white power activist is much larger in their head space than in a reasonable person and its pushing against the frontal lobe so their synapsis are misfiring."
But dissent, when Obama is president, is racist and a result of a brain disorder.
The truth is while I whole-heartedly disagreed with Johnny Depp's anti-American comments, he has EVERY RIGHT to state his opinion and I do not consider him un-American. But by that same token, I and everyone else who attended those tea parties have EVERY RIGHT to protest outrageous government spending.
Janeane Garofalo also has every right to be stupid.