free speech, right wings and morning tv

It occurs to me that the reason public dialogue is broken down into wings is you need a full wing span to fly – left and right. Lately, it seems to me the right wing has been flapping furiously and sending public dialogue into a reckless flight path. Is free speech not perilously out of control in an irrecoverable tail spin? Having never been one to just let it lie, I’m going to furiously flap my left wing. Couldn’t a little counter criticism avert a crash?

First, there’s Sarah Palin’s “never retreat, instead RELOAD!” complete with enemies in the cross hairs rhetoric. Geez, I really don’t get why she’s such a star (over 1,000,000 friends of facebook??? – the mind boggles). I, for one, wouldn’t trust her with a grocery list never mind a nation with nukes.

Then, there’s Coulter, the camel and the campus. Coulter commented that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed on airplanes and should take a flying carpets instead. When a Muslim student at the University of Ottawa commented she didn’t have a flying carpet, Coulter replied “take a camel”. The next day, I received a contrite e-mail message from my alumni association that the U of O supports free speech and the organization that invited her to speak was indeed the one responsible for canceling the event. I’m glad they did. Had I been there, as I was over 20 years ago, I know the welcome mat would have been firmly (albeit at least politely) pulled out from under her. Ottawa U is a micro united nations/diplomacy incubator. With most every embassy on earth within walking distance of that campus – there are students from all over the world – you can’t blame that student body for being especially sensitive to such obnoxious behaviour. Move along Ms. Coulter. If you’re ever invited back, please don’t forget your manners at the border.

And, not to be outdone, Mr. Rush Limbaugh, “the gloves have to come off, it’s time to sober up, Obama is destroying the U.S. economy” – couldn’t a commentator of his stature manage without the lame cliches. I mean c’mon. Is this public speaking 101? Oh no wait, he calls it the Excellence in Broadcasting Network. Potato?Po-tah-toe… Gee, puts me in mind of another conservative leader for whom words weren’t such a strong suit.

So there, I’ve said it. I feel better. The Blahgg Blog is also the “i’m so glad I got that off my chest” log. It won’t change a thing. Except I might be able to get through the first hour of the Today Show now that I’ve had my chance to say what’s on my mind instead of only being subjected to their “right” way of thinking. So Matt and Meredith – I’m ready to try again. See you tomorrow, on not so live, time delayed, morning television. Hopefully I’ll be “left” with a better impression…

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