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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

From the Midway: Freedom of Speech - the good, the bad and Ann Coulter

Thursday, July 5, 2007

In this great country that we live in, there are rights that we should hold dear to us. First and foremost, in my book, is the freedom of speech.

I'm a firm believer in freedom of speech, can't really be in the newspaper business if you're not. It's my belief that our founding fathers put that amendment first in the bill of rights for a reason, to have a voice for the people that is uncorrupted by one's standing in life.

It's hard to believe in today's world of not having that right. When you see an injustice being done, you can speak out.

When you believe in a cause and need to rally support, the First Amendment is there for you. Even if you're an idiot speaking hateful remarks to other idiots, you have that right.

One of the best examples of freedom of speech is when a person stands up for what is really important to him or her, like the civil rights movement or the women liberation or child labor. This country has a proud heritage of David standing up to Goliath.

Last week on MSNBC's "Hardball," Chris Matthews' guest was Ann Coulter. For those of you who don't know who Ann Coulter is, let me give you some highlights of hers.

She has been a lawyer, author of many right-wing books, columnist for several papers and magazines, former talk show host and a proud Reaganite. She has made her career on attacking Demacrats, gays, immigrants or just plan kicking people when they're down. Coulter is in good company with Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Riley. Some of her famous quotes are:

*"Liberals love America like O.J. loved Nicole."
*"I think, on the basis of the recent Supreme Court ruling, that we can't execute the retarded, American journalists commit mass murder without facing the ultimate penalty. I think they are retarded."
*"[Canadians] better hope the United States doesn't roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent."
*"[Liberals] are always accusing us of repressing their speech. I say let's do it. Let's repress them. ... Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment."

You get the idea of what kind of person she is. Saying shocking statements just to self- promote, not caring about who or what she wrecks.

All the time she hides (when it suits her) behind the First Amendment. One of Coulter's favorite targets in the past few years has been Senator John Edwards.

Time after time, she has made personal statements against Edwards and his family. Well on last week's "Hardball," Elizabeth Edwards had enough of Coulter's diarrhea of the mouth.

Calling in live, she asked politely for Coulter to stop the attacks on her husband and family.

Elizabeth Edwards showed true class and, of course, Coulter saw this as an attack on her and tried to run and hide behind the First Amendment, saying that Edwards was trying to shut her up.

Edwards sure was, but she wasn't telling Coulter to shut up, she was asking her to shut up.

Sure, John Edwards is a public figure and knows that these kinds of bottom feeders make careers out of smearing their name. I was proud of Elizabeth standing up for her family.

Yes, Coulter has the right to speak her mind. But that doesn't mean we have to listen to her.

That's the problem with freedom of speech - you need to take the good with the bad. But what Coulter, Limbaugh and O'Riley forget is that just because you can say anything you want doesn't mean you always should.

Mike Leckband
From the Midway