Free Speech: An Honorable Idea
As we move into the three big awards, we need to take a moment to look at the importance of freedom of speech in the United States. The honorable idea of free speech, which is the genesis of the clause in the First Amendment, has been diluted by the concept of freedom of expression, which appears nowhere in the Constitution.
This has led to a bizzaro-world where the right of free speech is prosecuted while obscenity, hate speech and harassment seem to be protected. The Karl Donaldson Free Speech Award is designed to honor those who stand up for the values of free, open and proper speech while protecting the vulnerable and giving those in power the challenge that can only be received in a nation with free speech.
1st Nominee: United States Congress
Our first nominee is the United States Congress. In an odd bi-partisan move, Congress is moving to deal with the issue of Child Pornography on Government Computers and children accessing pornography in general. On December 19th, bi-partisan members of congress began work on a bill that would create a new system to prevent it. Something that is a major problem at the crisis level. Further, there are several members of congress who are trying to place all adult content behind an identification wall so that school children will not have access to pornographic content.
Critics of the move are quick to point out that this stifles free speech, but does it? Physical copies of pornographic videos and magazines, along with highly violent content, are housed in stores with persons guarding the door to keep children out. Would not a digital guardian be doing the same thing? These members of Congress are opening the door to a better world where children are protected and those adults that still want to access this material will have but to enter their information to get past the bouncer.
2nd Nominee: Colleges that are fighting the ACLU
Our second nominees are the colleges that are fighting the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on the inclusion of Free Speech Zones on college campuses. The colleges are charging that free speech zones violate the Constitution, as all public campuses are open for free speech. This is a policy which allows schools to regulate permits for conservative groups to back corners of the campus while allowing liberal groups free reign.
Schools such as Dartmouth are fighting back saying that all people deserve free speech in an area that is visible to the whole campus. The ability to mute groups they do not like is a direct violation of this right and should be stopped. Colleges should return to the institutions of reason they once were.
3rd Nominee: The Devin Nunes Cow Twitter Account
Our third nominee splits the loyalties between conservativism and our adherence to free speech. Since this is an award named for that right, we are going with the latter. The Devin Nunes Cow Twitter account has been harassing Rep. Devin Nunes with satire for the last year. Nunes sued in court that the Twitter account should not be allowed to use his likeness without his permission.
In the court case, the issue came up that satire is one of the most protected forms of free speech. Even though the group was using Nunes’ name, the “cow” part kept it from getting confused with his real account. This was a win for people who believe that making fun of politicians is part of being an American, they are not our kings – they are our civil servants. As the first amendment is so vital to the people of the United States, this award represents the will of the people to have their voices heard.
And the Winner is…
The winner of this award represents not only the right of people to have free speech, but the understanding that it is not unlimited. We do not have the right to yell fire in a crowded theater, we do not have the right to do lewd acts in front of children and we do not have the right to defraud and defame. In this spirit we award the First Annual Karl Donaldson Free Speech Award to The United States Congress (Both Houses), for trying to stop the scourge of child pornography and youth access to illicit material.
While it may seem like it is stifling 1A rights, it is simply causing adults to who wish to access it to confirm their identity (the legal stuff). It also allows us to track criminals who are exploiting children. John Hancock showed that free speech was not to be “safe speech”, that if a person was going to speak loudly they should show their face and their name. Congress is asking nothing more of those who want to access pornography. For those who are exploiting children, the new law should bring them out into the light so that they can be punished and hopefully eliminated.
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