People signing rights away stupefying
Anybody else have a serious case of deja vu?
Explosions, screaming, death and mayhem combined with poisonous letters sent to congressmen and the president sure sounds a lot like 2001, though maybe not on the same scale.
With all the carnage, television media in particular have been going back to the tried and true. The screen is filled with as many crawlers and blurbs as possible while leaving just enough room for the anchor's perfect hair and teeth, and everybody is trying to be first instead of right. Let's not even pretend that cable news cares about being right the first time anymore. All they want to do is keep you watching. They can be right later. Maybe.
But as irritating as it is to try to glean the least little bit of truth from the idiot box anymore, at least we're still free to try to discern and disseminate that truth. And thank the Founders we have that freedom of speech.
But, alas, as disturbing as the week's events have been, the most horrifying thing I've seen is not the bombings or the ricin letters or the fertilizer plant explosion. It's a short video of people signing a petition to repeal the First Amendment.
Yes, you read that right. In an irony that I can't quite wrap my brain around, person after person uses their First Amendment rights to protest -- and try to bring an end to -- the First Amendment.
Granted, it's a phony petition, but the people signing it weren't told that. All they're told is the petitioners are trying to repeal the First Amendment so right-wingers and Republicans can't disagree with or say bad things about Barack Obama.
Now before conservatives go getting all high and mighty, you know some clowns on the right would be just as stupid if it'd been Rand Paul's name or Marco Rubio's instead of the president's. And in the interest of full disclosure, the man who made this video makes a lot of videos, some of which are pretty far out there or outright ridiculous.
But politics and ridiculousness notwithstanding, there are a variety of fascinating things that are exposed in this particular short video:
1) The aforementioned use of the First Amendment (free speech and petitioning the government for a redress of grievances) to attempt to repeal the very part of the Constitution that allows us to do so.
2) The people who sign the petition are OK with the repeal as long as it's aimed at people they don't agree with. What happened to "I might disagree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it?"
3) Most people do not actually read what they're signing. They listen to the actor's pitch, and then sign, no questions asked.
4) One man who does read it refuses to sign it, causing the pitchman to immediately break character and confess that it's stupid.
It's absolutely devastating to see some of the images from Boston and Texas. It's hard not to cry at some of the stories, and I know we'd all like to go a very long time before we hear about anyone else -- especially children -- losing limbs or their lives.
But if you ask me about terror, I have to tell you that watching people sign away our most precious freedom with no thought to the consequences scares me a lot more.
Email Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.