For John, BLUF: It is about Free Speech, the First Amendment, the ability to tell your neighbor he or she is ugly.
Over at The [Lowell] Sun we have this little blurb♠ about the ongoing political race, in this case the race between Democratic Party incumbent Senator Eileen Donoghue and Republican Party challenger James Buba. And, it turns on the issue of what James Buba was trying to say:
WHAT DO Jim Buba, the Republican candidate for the 1st Middlesex District state Senate seat, and Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy, have in common? They're both opposed to gay marriage.Boston Mayor Tom Menino says Chick-fil-A restaurants wouldn't be welcome [in Boston]? Now one sees that this is, indeed, a First Amendment issue. There are nuances on the issue of same sex marriage. I took a position, when I ran against David Nangle a decade ago (he has been in office that long?), based on what I had observed as practice in Germany (and some other European nations). I said that we were talking about contracts and that as contracts, everyone should have to go to City Hall or the Town Clerk to execute the contract, in public. Then, those who wanted, should go to a Church to get married.
Buba opened the door to the issue during a Sun-sponsored debate last week against Democratic incumbent Sen. Eileen Donoghue. He brought a Chick-fil-A drink cup to the debate, and placed it on the table in front of him.
Buba said he is opposed to gay marriage, saying "it's just not my way." But he said he's more concerned with the 1st Amendment right to free speech. "Mr. Cathy can say whatever he wants to," said Buba.
This summer, crowds converged upon Chick-fil-A's 1,600-plus locations, including Burlington, in a show of solidarity. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino condemned Cathy's position against same-sex marriage while adding Chick-fil-A restaurants wouldn't be welcome.
But, the Chick-fil-A brouhaha got out of control when public officials started talking about banning the Restaurants. While that might be the Chicago Way, it is not what our Constitution and the better angels of our nature call for. The Constitution for public officials who try to repress a person's right to free speech and the "better angels" for those not in public office who try to suppress that person's operations.
It is analogous to the 13 minute video Innocence of Muslims. If you don't like it, don't watch it, but Government Officials should not be trying to suppress it.♥ It is a fine line public officials walk. Free Speech should be a bright line. The idea that we should criminalize lying is pernicious. It is a big step down the road to a totalitarian form of government. Today's lie, may, at some point, become tomorrow's truth.
Regards — Cliff
♠ How long this link will be good is debatable. Usually these Sun links die within a fortnight, forcing readers to go to some pay for view site. I will not be updating the link.
♥ In this bloggers humble opinion, to focus on the video as the root cause of the recent (11 Sept) riots in the Middle East and elsewhere is to miss the elephant in the room. It was an anniversary of the al Qaeda attack on the Twin Towers in New York City and two other targets in this nation. Frustration over local problems were the basis for protests and the video was like a brick laying in the street, picked up to throw through a plate glass window.