Friday, March 18, 2011

Do Republicans support "Free Speech" or not ??

The Republican Party's (GOP) platform is pro-life, pro-gun, and for low taxes and smaller government. They say they want to cut government spending, have a strong military, and support the Constitutional protections of individual liberty including freedom of religion, speech, and assembly. Unfortunately, many times their actions say otherwise. When they're in power, we've seen the GOP spend, spend, spend and grow government bigger and bigger while criticizing the Democrats for doing the same thing. It's often hypocrisy at it's finest. A few weeks back, I wrote a blog post similar to today's which pointed out one such Republican hypocrisy. It's title was Are Republicans Pro-Life or Not ?? In that post, I showed that even though the GOP says they're "pro-life," some of the GOP's members seem to think that "pro-life" only applies to babies. Today, I'll show another Republican hypocrisy involving freedom of speech, and I'll base it on a personal experience.

On January 29, 2011, I attended a meeting of The Wilson Co. (TN) Republican Party (WCRP) in which an election was held to elect new officers after they were given an "order" by "Big Brother," a.k.a. The Tennessee Republican Party (TNGOP), to do so. In my opinion, "the order" was an example of The Big Government / Nanny State-itis that has infected the GOP, but that's another story for another day. In fact, the ones of us in attendance at the meeting saw an example of this "Nanny State-itis" in the meeting's opening minutes. Chris Devaney, Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, was the master of ceremonies for the election. Right after the meeting began, a gentlemen by the name of Reed Working made a couple of motions to amend the rules in place for the meeting. Chairman Devaney immediately ruled the motions out of order. The crowd booed and voiced it's displeasure with his ruling. It became apparent very quickly that it was Devaney's way or the highway. More GOP Nanny State-itis. No free speech. Just "shut up and sit down." It made me wonder - "Was I at a meeting of Democrats or Republicans ?"

A couple of weeks before the officer election, I got an e-mail from a friend asking if I would help out by giving a few hours of my time to work as a volunteer poll worker for the election. Basically, my job was to check ID's and follow other criteria set forth by "the powers that be" to help ensure that votes were cast only by people that were actually eligible to vote. One of those criteria was that the voter had to be a "bonafied Republican." The question is - what is a "bonafied Republican ?" Is it :
  • one who is for limited government and low taxes who follows the Constitution and has the same values and principles that the Founding Fathers did, or
  • one who likes big government, higher spending, higher taxes, is a politician instead of a public servant, and only follows the Constitution on occasion ? In other words - Democrat-lite.
Confusing, huh ?

Image via Bernard Gagnon on Wikipedia.
Let me be honest. I didn't really want to go help out as a poll worker that day, but I agreed to as a favor for a friend. We've all been there, right ? We do something we don't want to because a family member or friend asked us to. However, the night before the election my friend called and said I had been marked off the list of poll workers. I had been "fired" before ever reporting to work. Weird, huh ? Actually ... not really. I didn't have to be Albert Einstein to know why I was "fired." In my opinion, it was because during the 2010 election cycle, I had been very open about my displeasure with some of the so-called Republican candidates on the ballot. If I had to guess, though, my biggest "sin" in the eyes of the Republican-establishment-elite was my open, outspoken opposition to the re-election of incumbent State Senator Mae Beavers. If I was a poker player, I'd go "all in" on that being the main reason for my "firing." Somebody or somebodies had been "offended" by me thinking for myself and then exercising my freedom of speech when exposing contradictions in her voting record. I guess they expected me to just fall in line and go along to get along. Nope. Sorry. I don't work that way. The amazing thing is that the big powerful establishment feels so threatened by this little ol' transplant-recipient-blogger that they basically censored me for doing so. That just blows my mind because it doesn't make one iota of any sense. Perhaps they should spend more time trying to help Tennesseans get back to work instead of worrying about me.

So, where am I going with this ? My point is simple. Over the last couple of years, we've heard Republicans cry foul over the desire of the Obama Administration and the Democrats in Congress to place new restrictions on freedom of speech through renewing The Fairness Doctrine, instituting new FCC regulations, and other means. The Democrats and others on the Left are notorious for loving free speech unless it criticizes, contradicts, or threatens them. In other words, as long as they agree with what you're saying, you can say whatever you want. However, if they don't agree with you, then it's "shut up and sit down" or worse. Hitler and Stalin were famous for it. Now, it appears that some Republicans are getting in on the act if you dare to oppose "the establishment candidate." Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that all Republicans are doing such things because many are good, compassionate, friendly conservatives who are sticking to their values, principles, and ethics. However, speaking from my own experience, it seems that some Republicans are going the way of the Democrats and others on the Left by supporting free speech only when they agree with it. That's too bad because it's a darn shame when you can't tell the Pachyderms from the Jackasses.

Ouch !!

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