Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What Is It That Conservatives Hate About the Constitution? Answer: Freedom of Speech that Results in Criticism of Conservatives.

Political Speech that is Critical of Conservatives Can’t Be Constitutional, Can It?
Remember how every time a Conservative gets all misty eyed and emotional about the country and freedom they bring up the Constitution.  Well part of the Constitution is that government (or anybody else) cannot censor on control speech with respect to a person expressing views on government in a way that does not threaten promote violence or any other illegal behavior.  The Dismal Political Economist thought this was well accepted in the U. S. after more than 200 years of freedom and independence.

Well apparently in Kansas if a high school student criticizes the elected Conservative Republican governor by “tweeting” on her own personal device to about sixty of her friends, the principal of her school can order her to write letters of apology.  Here’s what happened.

Emma Sullivan, a senior at Shawnee Mission East High School in Prairie Village, was in Topeka on Monday as part of Kansas Youth in Government, a program for students interested in politics and government.

During the session, in which Brownback addressed the group, Sullivan posted on her personal Twitter page:

“Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot”

Now admittedly this was not respectful to an elected official, but compared to someone like, say Rush Limbaugh it was pretty mild.  But the Governor’s office immediately sprang into action.

On Tuesday, Sullivan was called to her principal’s office and told that the tweet had been flagged by someone on Brownback’s staff and reported to organizers of the Youth in Government program.

The principal “laid into me about how this was unacceptable and an embarrassment,” Sullivan said. “He said I had created this huge controversy and everyone was up in arms about it … and now he had to do damage control.

Wow, the Governor’s staff has nothing to do all day but sit around and monitor tweets?  And when they find one critical of the Governor they immediately have to take action. 

So what does the school want the student to do?

Sullivan said the principal ordered her to write letters of apology to Brownback, the school’s Youth in Government sponsor, the district’s social studies coordinator and others.
Hopefully Ms. Sullivan will write those letters and say something to the effect “Gov. Brownback, I am sorry that you suck”, because in truth we are all sorry that Gov. Brownback sucks.  As for the school, here is their policy on freedom of expression.

Leigh Anne Neal, spokeswoman for the district, said that district officials were not aware of the incident, but would look into it after the Thanksgiving break.

“In general,” she wrote, “students on school-sponsored field trips, in which they are representing the school, would be expected to conduct themselves in accordance with school district policies, including use of electronic devices. Students may express their personal beliefs, views, and opinions, as long as they do so appropriately and in accordance with school policies.”

That’s right students in Kansas, you have the right to express whatever sentiments you want, as long as in the school’s mind it is “appropriate” and as long as what you say is “in accordance with school policies”.

Imagine if you will if this had been a Conservative student posting about a liberal politician and being attacked in this manner.  Michigan Stadium which seats 110,000 for football would not be big enough to hold the outrage of all those columnists in the Wall Street Journal, Fox News and the Washington Post.  And George Will, that great champion of freedom of speech that in his mind allows unlimited money in campaigns (to support his candidates of course), well we are waiting for his expressions of outrage. 

Waiting, and waiting and waiting.

[Update:  Governor Brownback has apologized, but wrote this rather bizarre comment

I also want to thank the thousands of Kansas educators who remind us daily of our liberties, as well as the values of civility and decorum.

Which is bizarre since it is the Kansas educators at Ms. Sullivan’s school whose actions were in contradiction to “our liberties”.  Maybe the Governor was speaking ironically, although irony is usually not the province of Conservatives.]

No comments:

Post a Comment