One thing I’ve been reminded of lately (since the NPR reporter was fired for talking shit about Muslims on Fox News and the school board member was “encouraged” to resign after writing on facebook that all homosexuals should commit suicide) is that there are a lot of people in this country who don’t understand the scope of the first amendment. It’s not just Christine O’Donnell! I thought that maybe I don’t understand the scope of the first amendment either, so I did a google. Then I cleaned that up and started writing this post. Because stupid poop jokes are supported by my right to free speech. USA! USA!
As a US citizen you have the right to say what you want (within certain legal limitations related to libel, slander, etc.). You also have the right to deal with the consequences of what you say. You can’t call your boss a retarded twat with bad breath and no work ethic and then cry foul when he fires you. Even if what you said is true, getting fired by your twat of a boss does not equal someone trampling upon your first amendment rights. Being fired is not the same thing as being jailed or stoned to death.
From a wikipedia article (I know) about the first amendment:
When considering private authority figures (such as parents or an employer), the First Amendment provides no protection. A private authority figure may reserve the right to censor their subordinate’s speech, or discriminate on the basis of speech, without any legal consequences. All may dismiss their employees at will…for good cause, for no cause, or even for a cause morally wrong, without thereby being guilty of a legal wrong.
Then I thought, well, NPR is partially funded by the gubment, so maybe that makes a difference in this particular situation. Then I found this (from a long article about first amendment exceptions that I slogged through, just for you) about a case related to the firing of a federal employee:
In Arnett v. Kennedy, the Supreme Court again balanced governmental interests and employee rights, and this time sustained the constitutionality of a federal statute that authorized removal or suspension without pay of an employee where the “cause” cited was an employee’s speech. The Court interpreted the statute to proscribe only that public speech which improperly damages and impairs the reputation and efficiency of the employing agency…the Act is not directed at speech as such, but at employee behavior, including speech, which is detrimental to the efficiency of the employing agency.
NPR didn’t handle Williams’ firing very well from a political standpoint, but it was legal. There’s little doubt that a reporter openly talking about his fear that all people who dress in Muslim garb are potential terrorists limits his ability to do his job for NPR (but not Fox News, obviously). The dude probably should have been shit canned a long time ago – he’d flagrantly violated NPR’s code of ethics numerous times.
As for the guy on the school board in Arkansas suggesting that all homosexuals, including children, should kill themselves, he’s allowed to spew that vileness from a first amendment standpoint. At the same time, people in his community can call for his resignation without infringing upon those rights. Again – you can say what you want, but you have to take your lumps after you do so.
And PS – putting aside the horrible, disgusting fact that someone ON THE SCHOOL BOARD said he wants gay children to commit suicide, people should have called for McCance(r)’s resignation (or actually, never put him on the board in the first place) a long time ago based upon the fact that he’s obviously really fucking stupid. The VP of the school board repeatedly uses the non-word thereselves? Did it never occur to him to wonder why there’s a little squiggly red line under that collection of letters when he types it out? Repeatedly?
Maybe he’s too busy thinking about going to the gym later. They have a really great steam room full of naked, redblooded, heterosexual male Amurcans. In fact, sometimes he stays in there thinking about how all the gay people need to die for so long that he gets all wrinkly and dehydrated…