Skip to comments.Storm Troopers vs. Cindy Sheehan: The Left’s authentic nonsense
Posted on 08/16/2005 7:45:14 AM PDT by Quilla
...she's an American, she has the right to her opinion. Juan Williams Fox News I'm all for what she's trying to do. Yes, she appears to be say it ain't so! slightly partisan. But since when does being slightly partisan disqualify someone from having an opinion? Rightwing bloggers would have us believe that, unless you're a Republican (and an R who supports the war, no questions asked), you have no right to speak out about the war. Dan Savage, subbing at Andrewsullivan.com
The Constitution allows me to make a very long list of statements. I can say George W. Bush is in the pocket of Zionists and oil interests, as a certain woman hanging out in Crawford, Texas does. I can also say that George W. Bush is little bunny fru-fru hopping through the forest. I can say that the difference between him and a duck is ice cream because, after all, a vest has no sleeves. Or I can say that the Stifler dance scene in American Wedding made complete sense. In other words, I can say any crazy old thing I want. I can say America is a racist, sexist, homophobic country of hate with mean icing and a bigoted cherry on top. Or I can say that I have armadillos in my trousers.
In fact, I can actually put armadillos in my trousers (though I suspect there's barely room for one) and then say all of the above. Because, you see, I can make statements almost anywhere I like about almost anything I like. I can say it in Texas, I can say it in front of the White House. I can say it dressed like a mouse, I can say it like a souse.
Okay I hate rhymes. So enough of that.
Of course, I can't say any of this inside the White House unless I've been invited inside. Otherwise, I'd be arrested for trespassing, not for presidential sassing.
Okay, I'm really done now.
Sucking Up Intellectual Air This does raise one of the many caveats to this whole free-speech thing. I can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater (well, unless there is actually a fire in the theater). I can't take out a political ad less than 30 days before Election Day (or something like that) and I can't say anything I want when I'm under oath in a court of law (assuming I want to say something untrue).
All this can get a little confusing because there are a few other exceptions to the whole say-whatever-you-want free-speech rule. If you're confused, though, here's a nifty little hint for how to figure out if your speech is permitted under our Constitution: If nobody says "it's against the law for you to say that!" it's probably not against the law for you to say that!
Look: It's deep August and Washington is about as hot and moist as the air pocket underneath one of those dudes you occasionally see on the evening news being pried from his bed with the jaws of life. So maybe I'm just being cranky. But, if you want to defend somebody's controversial statements, saying "so-and-so has the right to his opinion" doesn't get you out of the gate. It just sucks up air and fills space. Intellectually, it's got the nutritional value of Styrofoam. You might as well say "Oo-ee-oo-ah-ah, ting-tang-walla-walla-bing-bang" instead and then move on to your next point. It's not interesting, not smart, not insightful. Saying Cindy Sheehan has a right to criticize the president is like saying she's a carbon-based life form: True, but utterly beside the point.
Now as a fan of dogma, I'm not opposed to reaffirming our faith in free speech every now and then (as George Bush did last week). But what drives me batty is the way people hide behind this straw man whenever they don't like criticism. Forget Sheehan for a moment because passions are running high. Let's use as a hypothetical that High Priestess of Jackassery Cynthia McKinney. Typical pundit show:
Right-wing pundit guy: "McKinney is making a fool of herself. She's got her facts wrong. She loves America's enemies. Blah blah blah."
Left-wing pundit guy: "I may disagree with many of her arguments but, look, I think she represents an authentic perspective and she has the right to express her opinion."
High-minded moderator: "What about that right-wing pundit guy? She does have the right to express her opinion. This is a free country after all...."
It's at about this point I fling myself off my couch like John Belushi at the end of one of those old Saturday Night Live news skits.
Nobody ever questioned her right to say anything.
And as for representing an authentic perspective: Who cares if it's authentic if it's wrong?
Confusion on this point seems to be a form of paranoia which pops-up on both sides of the ideological spectrum, but it's particularly acute on the left. After 9/11 we heard from all over the place that free speech was under assault because the usual idiots were getting criticized for their usual idiocy. Again, I hate to be such a pain in the butt to Cynthia McKinney, but as I've noted before, it is the quickest route to her brain. When, after 9/11, McKinney behaved like, well, McKinney she was roundly criticized and rightly so. She immediately asserted that her "right to speak" had been questioned. No such thing occurred.
Don't Question the Left! The great irony is that the people who resort to such "arguments" (they're really just insults) are the ones questioning free-speech rights, because they are suggesting the criticism was inappropriate and, in some vague and stupid way, unconstitutional. Right? That is the upshot of what they're saying. I mean, if you immediately assert that someone has the right to say something as a way to rebut criticism, aren't you implying that such criticism violated their rights which is, by definition, unconstitutional.
The paranoia enters into it when you consider the nature of the accusation. If you immediately assume that criticism from the political Right is tantamount to questioning someone's constitutional right to speak in the first place, what you are really saying (Pace Dan Savage) is that if you scratch a conservative you'll find a Storm Trooper just under the surface. We knuckle draggers may say we're just offering criticism, but what we really mean is that anyone we disagree with has no right to say so. That so many on the Left seem to believe this, says a lot about the intellectual and psychological state of Lefties while saying nothing of interest about conservatives. I don't think it's always a matter of projection assuming your enemy sees things the same you do but I do think this knee-jerkery illuminates in a small way the bad faith of the Left. Not only does the "I have the right to speak" tantrum dodge the merits of specific criticisms, it starts from the assumption that as a matter of first principles left-wing protest should never be questioned.
Indeed, that's the reason the Left has rallied so fiercely behind Cindy Sheehan. Wedded to a form of identity-politics logic which says some "authentic" voices cannot be questioned and inauthentic voices need not be listened to, these hardcore left-wing activists love Cindy Sheehan because they think she's above reproach. They immediately resort to the argument "How dare you question a woman who lost her child!" Sheehan's loss is obviously a terrible one. But the death of her son does not make her anymore qualified to rant about Israel and oil tycoons controlling American foreign policy than it would be if her son was alive. But her backers do not care, indeed they don't think anyone has the right to even point this out.
Another on-the-mark piece by Jonah.
Again, I hate to be such a pain in the butt to Cynthia McKinney, but as I've noted before, it is the quickest route to her brain.
Now that's just uncalled for.
That scene was pivotal to advancing the plot, and integral to the overall thematic development.
This Sheehan woman on the other hand...well, she's just plain batsh*t.
Good points though.
Had some moonbat trolls here on FR pull the "What about my free speech" line whenever questions about Sheehan and her ghoulish use of the death of her son for political gain arises.
I will not grace that woman with the words 'loss of her son' or 'her loss' since if it were truly a loss for her, she wouldn't be using it as a springboard to further wackanoidal conspiracy theories about neo-cons and zionists let alone supporting the very terrorists who killed her son.
Great article. One of Jonah's best.
Even if she herself had served-which might possibly have added a patina of legitimacy to her delusional accusations-I don't think that she would have been entitled to a free pass.
George Lincoln Rockwell was one of the more decorated WWII veterans, and-if I recall correctly-responsible for sinking more U-Boats than most other servicemen in the U.S. Navy.
By the left's skewed logic, I suppose that means that he should have been praised for having the courage to found the American Nazi Party, and making a career out of being a deranged, bigoted demagogue.
Give me a break!
Yes, the left would give him more voice because 'he KNOWS' or some such.
...that would be the 'American National Socialist Party'.
Notice the name tag in front of the slimy Joe Wilson: it says "former ambassador Joe Wilson". Does he to be continually reminded that he was an ambASSador?
You have the right to say stupid things.
Anything stupid you say will be used against you in the court of public discourse.
You have the right to consult Michel Moore;
Everyone else has the right to ridicule you if you do
I just had a wicked idea...what we need to do, and are easily capable of pulling off..a "maskirova"..a deception..is to start an on-line petition to get Cindy Sheehan to run for the US Senate in 2006 in the Dem primary against Diane Feinstein..this is the kind of thing that can run wild, spread instantly..and you know the hard-left will jump all over it..
It must be sort of like slick willie always being called "president" clinton, rather than by the more appropriate address of the Impeached and Disbarred Former president clinton.
She's sick with grief, she is being used. - TigersEye - Free Republic
A volunteer all the way; Casey enlisted, re-enlisted, volunteered for the mission that took his life and earned the Bronze Star trying to rescue fellow soldiers.
Casey Sheehan's actions in life are the antithesis of and a direct repudiation of Cindy Sheehan's views and actions!
For those looking to russle some feathers, come on over to wwww.fantasticforum.com
The forum is infested with old liberal yenta moonbats. There are a few liberal hippie men too. The ol conservatives over there need help balancing out the equation.
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