Hate Speech & the 1st Amendment

As many of you saw and heard, earlier this week Vice President Biden made a comment that, to say the least, appalled me. It is a Shorthand, Racist, diminishing word about Jews. Yes, Jews

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/09/17/joe-biden-said-stepped-in-it-again/

A racist term, rarely used, except in Mr. Biden's neighborhood. It is a time honored means of causing people to be diminished, a Nazi tactic still in use today. The Nazis used this against, Jews, Gays, Catholics, Intellectuals, and anyone they felt were "less" than them.

Now, I think its time that something be said that addresses this. Yes, there has been the press release from various sources. But, I also note that many organizations that call people out for pejorative speech have be very strangely quiet. Quiet. Silent. No words spoken. Nada.

Then we have the people who say "Its just crazy old Joe". Ladies and Gentlemen, Crazy Joe or not Crazy Joe, it is plain, old fashioned wrong. If a person, who is of a more Conservative stance, makes a stupid comment, Crazy Joe is all over them. There is no forgiveness, no slack, no nothing, but it seems a "liberal" a "social progressive" is given permission to slash and burn in the world of nasty speech, with abandon.

We live in a world where we are supposed to be more thoughtful, considerate and more polite. When there is wrongful speech, people are called to retract it, not just sheepishly scuff their feet, grim madly and get a pass. I don't tolerate this amongst my friends or my acquaintances. Neither should anyone else. I was brought up to, always remember, that if you stand quietly when there is Hate Speech, you are the next target.

This Country has the First Amendment. I get that. I love the 1st Amendment. But, what people forget--a lot it seems, is that when you exercise that 1st Amendment, and you do something stupid, like Biden, is you take responsibility for what comes out of your mouth. Scuffing your feet and grinning madly does not count.

Where are you, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Jared Polis, Andrew Romanoff, Mark Udall to say that hate is not a protected manner of speech, and that Vice President Joe Biden was just plain wrong?

If you are sincerely against racist remarks and believe they have no space in the world of polite society, where are you??

So strangely silent; so strangely comfortable with the use of marginalizing speech. So self satisfyingly hypocritical.

 

Joy Hoffman, Chair