Thursday, June 29, 2006

Free speech, dumb speech

I read that the US Senate narrowly defeated a vote to amend the US Constitution such that Congress could ban flag-burning. The vote was lost 66-34. That is, 34 Senators voted against it; one fewer, and it would have had the 2/3 support necessary to go to the various states for ratification. Cheers to Senators who, sadly in the minority in opinion though they are, stood up for free speech.

But there's free speech, and there's dumb speech. I read this in the same article:

"Our country's unique because our dissidents have a voice," said Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii...

Has this man any idea, the faintest idea at all, how gallingly offensive it is for him to say that? There are dozens, scores of countries in the world with civil rights records that match or even rival those of the United States. And yet, this man is a supposedly educated, informed person holding a rare office in the upper house of the US Congress. I can't believe he's that ignorant, so the only answer is he's jingoistic and exceptionalistic. Is there nobody left in the whole USA who isn't a pale, ersatz echo of George W. Bush?


Polt said...

I don't believe the Senator was speaking as an insult to all the other countries that have a simliart or better record of civil rights. he was speaking in comparison, i think, to all the countries who do not allow thier dissidents to voice their opposition. And there more of those, I would assume.

(I only come to his defense, cause I've got a friend who is this particular Senator's nephew or second cousin or something. :) So maybe I don't know what I'm talking about here (wouldn't be the first time) but I'm defending a relative of a friend. That's an honorable thing to do, right? :P )

L-girl said...

Inouye is one of the (relatively) good guys. He's not a Bushite at all.

I have to tell you, although I deplore that type of sentence construction, I hear it in Canada all the time. Sad but true. Perhaps it's more of an unthinking reflex reaction than a well-thought-out statement.