24 Sep Email to an asshat about a free speech issue
I’m on a few list servs. I won’t say which one this originated on. But, lets just jump to what I said:
11 muslim students stood up to heckle the Israeli ambassador. Orange county prosecutor charged them with disrupting an event. While they may not have a right to disrupt the speech without being dragged out of the place, a criminal conviction for political speech is bullshit.
And if it had been 11 Yeshiva students disrupting a speech by a Palestinian, they’d get the medal of freedom.
I agree with all the nice things that have been said about Chemerinsky here, but his balls shriveled up into raisins over this event. (It took place at UC Irvine).
The response: It is “bullshit,” and “anti-semitic.”
Lets unpack that…
Bullshit? Maybe. He, you, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I might even change mine, and one day repudiate my own opinion as bullshit.
Don’t you love that one?
Since I’ve been a bit off my game blogging lately, I thought I’d mail one in here and just straight up share what I wrote in response to that.
Today, 11 men were convicted of a “crime.” The “crime” was “disrupting a speech.” The speech they disrupted was that of the Israeli ambassador. (source)
The “disruption” lasted about 8 seconds per “criminal.” In total, it was about a minute.
Interrupting him might not have been the most constructive way of making their point, but we cant lose sight of what they did. Why they did it. This was political speech. This was the most sacred kind of speech. And, this target was the least deserving of the law’s protection when speech is concerned — a public figure.
The Israeli ambassador was inconvenienced for less time than it takes to boil an egg.
And yet, for that inconvenience. That indignity. That quasi lese majeste. Eleven men were convicted of a crime.
The men were Muslims… The place is the most shocking part – Orange County, California, USA.
Although I despise the “what next?” rhetorical device… I just so need it here.
Hecklers at comedy clubs could be dragged out and thrown in the back of a cruiser where a drunk just puked? At least one lawyer would have to go to jail after every hearing. Fox news would essentially be illegal in California. My poor wife and I would probably each be witnesses in criminal trials against each other (privilege be damned!!!)
Criminally prosecuted for interrupting a speech.
We could all be arrested, every day, for this “crime.”
No we couldn’t.
Don’t insult my, or your own, intellect by thinking that this could have happened to anyone. Imagine if this had been a member of the Cuban government up there and some exilos from Miami showed up to yell. Do you think for a minute they would be charged, let alone convicted of a crime? Koreans showing up to voice their displeasure at a dignitary from the Hermit Kingdom? Jews in Skokie shouting down a nazi? Hell, nazis coming to Bensonhurst shouting down a Jew.
No, not even nazis get charged with a crime for merely interrupting a speaker.
And yet, for taking the position that these men were selectively prosecuted. For taking the position that this was all about their ethnicity and the content of their speech, some asshole thinks that I’m being “anti semitic.”
It is unfortunate. Because it is that kind of mentality that is at the root of the very reason these men were at odds with the man on the stage. Both of them have thrown in with their tribe rather than with their species. Like crabs in a pot, needing no lid, they would rather gouge out their own eyes than see through those of the other.
And it is that mentality that makes Palestinians unable to listen to Israelis. It is why Israelis can’t possibly back down to any criticism. It is why there are those who are so blind to their tribe, rather than to their entire human family, who decide that anyone who speaks against their interests in any way must be branded. He must be marked with the label of “anti-semite.”
I don’t really think it is my place to judge, but I’m gonna do it anyway. You reverse the polarity on that position, you don’t get a pretty philosophy. So, perhaps these guys did try and win the debate by shouting down the other speaker. That kind of conduct deserves a flag on the play. But what do you think trying to brand someone as something so abhorrent is? What do you call that, when you know it is a lie, you don’t care that it is a lie, but you say it because you know that it will score nice, cheap, points, and more than half the people who see it as bullshit will be afraid to call your ass out.
What do you call that?
I call that a pussy asshat move. So fuck you sir. Fuck you very much.
And really it is — for two reasons. One, to call oneself a First Amendment attorney and to think it is just that these 11 men were convicted of a crime — not merely removed from the room — and they were convicted not for resisting. Not for doing anything that hurt anyone else.
In order to express their opinion on a matter of public concern.
And they were convicted of a crime.
It is sad enough that one would argue against the notion that this is wrong. But, like I said up top, everyone is entitled to their opinion on that. You know where I stand.
But, what a pussy asshat move to try and throw the “big bad bigot” card.
I have tried to think that I was wrong for taking that position. I’ve tried to see it through someone else’s eyes, and the only person I can see with eyes like that is a small minded and fearful person. Someone so insecure, so tepid, so small, that their only defense is to try and lob a bomb. Wanna play rhetoric like that? Here: It is rhetorical terrorism! It strikes at a target that should not be hit, for a reason that doesn’t deserve the energy, and he who employs it has already lost the high ground when they resort to it.
Of course, this is an equal opportunity beta trait. There’s the black guy that screams “racist” to do the same thing. The feminist who whines “sexist” if you disagree with her. You know what, jerkoff?
Those words MEAN SOMETHING.
If you just throw them against anything with which you disagree, you wind up pounding them thin to the point that they don’t mean anything anymore. You can even numb the alarm to those who really are those dangerous things. You create muck in which those dangerous things thrive.
So, I should have added to the end, “not only is a pussy asshat move, but it is anti semitic.”
But, I refrained.