“I don’t agree with what he says, but I will fight to the death for his right to say it.”
Really? Because I don’t think you will fight to a paper cut much less to the death. When we get beyond the cliches and platitudes, how many of us are paying lip service to “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech” while what we really desire is freedom of speech for those who agree with us and for the rest to just shut the f**k up be it through executive fiat or coming down with a severe case of tongue rot? We’re lazy about the rights we actually do have and we get most excited over the rights we only think we should have. At this moment, writing about the subject, I am truly happier that I have a fresh banana for my oatmeal than freedom of speech.
How often do we use it, this right to free speech? Here on WordPress? I spend most of my days in my parents’ house (not a lot of free speech for me there), at my job (nope), at school (a touch of free speech mixed with a touch of “Do you enjoy being a student here?”) and asleep (it is in my dreams that I break the bonds of servitude). If anyone died for our right to free speech, I hope a sign in front a bar in Georgia was not the last mental image of what they were dying for. Considering that the only war fought to defend our Constitution was the one fought 11 years before the Constitution existed, I am not so sure the concept of the proud warrior defending the Bill of Rights applies so much as the concept of the scared guy trying to kill the guy who is trying to kill him.
So if you want to be a racist, draw someone’s deity, wear tea bags on your hat, or just be a garden-variety a**hole, go right ahead but leave the First Amendment out of it. No one died so you could post a picture of a woman having sex with a horse on the Internet and draw chalk outlines of Muhammad on the sidewalk. When you actually have a reason to speak out against state tyranny, the First Amendment will be right there beside you as will the spirits of Adams, Madison and Jefferson. Until then, you’re just a self-entitled blowhard who doesn’t know how good his life really is because a government sniper isn’t going to shoot him in the head while he is giving an interview anytime soon.