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Congress After Free Speech Again

July 14, 2008

Time and time again, Legislative members seek after “political correctness”, while seeking to put restrictions on others with different views. You don’t need to be politically conservative to appreciate that attempts to put a damper on the First Amendment are not only dangerous, but outright treasonous in the opinion of this writer. America has thrived on a respectful difference of opinion and the ability to express that opinion. Free speech is what makes this country unique. Freedom of speech continues to allow the nation to be able to redeem itself from socialist and fascist tendencies as well as outright ignorance of many of the nations’ elect.

Conservatives continually creak about defending conservative talk radio and rightly so. Strangely, one of the most active politicians promoting global climate change defense and pseudo-United Nations global political policies speaks out predominantly against the freedom of speech. While talking about the heralded Fairness Doctrine, Al Gore stated, “Rush Limbaugh and other hate-mongers began to fill the airwaves.” Conservative radio is convinced that resistance is all about opposition to conservative principles. The fact is that Congressional resistance has consistently proved to be about any difference of opinion.

Republicans often claim to favor freedom of speech, yet often vote with Democrats to quash the very freedoms they claim to prize. What is worse, the Congressional voting system usually covers up the voting preferences of Senators and Representatives by taking simple floor votes. Who voted on a particular piece of legislation is notoriously difficult and often impossible to discover in the annals of Congressional data. Nancy Pelosi works hard to keep the voting record silent on the floor. That way, the fire of public authority and accountability is significantly cooled.

In this case, some conservatives, like Congressman Mike Pense have initiated H.R. 2905 to prevent more socialist opponents from silencing divergent views. Freedom of speech is not a conservative issue. Freedom of speech is a national issue, a prized pearl that continues to insure the future rights of Americans and the possible survival of this nation.

Conservatives often argue that the Fairness Doctrine would inflict the full power of government on stations carrying conservative views, forcing equal time to an opposing viewpoint. They argue that left-wing opinions already saturate the airwaves on the likes of ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN. What would conservatives have to fear if this was enforced as uniform policy on both sides? Fortunately, this is not the real issue.

If the Fairness Doctrine were uniformly applied, the argument against “fairness” is null and void except from the real free speech standard. There is absolutely no need for the federal government to employ a big stick of regulation on overall content of public communications based on political or religious leanings and philosophies, even if some are not as widely favored. Ultimately, society handles that issue, not the realm of politics. In the big scheme of things, politics has little to fear if it is responsive to constituents.

Yet, many Americans fear that the Fairness Doctrine has overtones for application to the internet. Since most educated Americans know that government loves to change rules in the middle of the game, this concern is real and justified.

Meanwhile, a petition is now in play, an action that requires the signatures of a simple majority of the House of Representatives to force a bill, the Broadcaster Freedom Act, to the floor for a roll call vote. The goal is to force a public vote on this issue with a public list of names, thus enforcing accountability.

Regardless of whether you personally like a message, the right to choose to listen to divergent opinions and views is important to freedom-loving citizens. Any vote to stomp on First Amendment rights is a vote that you need to know about. Americans have a right to know which Members of Congress value the First Amendment and which ones are working against the freedom of speech.

Nancy Pelosi clearly stated that she supports reviving the Fairness Doctrine. When pressed further on whether she would allow the Broadcaster Freedom Act to repeal the Fairness Doctrine permanently, Pelosi said, ‘No… the interest in my caucus is the reverse.’ Pelosi openly admits the desire to gag opposing viewpoints.

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