Monday, April 20, 2009

Free Speech, Remember?

I usually turn a blind eye to infotainment, but last night's Miss USA controversy has me seriously fired up. Miss California was asked if gay marriage should be legalized in all states, and why or why not.

This was her response: "I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and, you know what, in my country and my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anyone out there but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be between a man and a woman."

Ever since the words have left her lips she has been vilified, called names and some are even saying that is why she lost. I don't care about Miss USA's opinion on gay marriage, I care about the response she receives from fellow Americans for expressing her First Amendment right to free speech. She said nothing derogatory, and gave a truthful answer. Whether anyone agrees with her, whatever. But as Ed Murrow said, "We should not confuse dissent with disloyalty." Free speech is for everyone to express their opinions.

I believe in the marketplace of ideas. When we start picking and choosing who can say what, we have just made the First Amendment moot. I think everyone can have their own opinions.

To see the video and read the story, go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/20/carrie-prejean-miss-calif_n_188897.html.

8 comments:

  1. I have to admit I watched the Miss America pageant too! I think it is hard for people to realize the other side of opinions, especially on this hot topic. Personally, I felt she simply was uneducated on the issue, as were many of the candidates on their questions, and I can't help but believe she's wrong just because I feel so strongly the other way. There was also a gay judge, and when it showed his reaction he looked really hurt. You're right, she should have the right to say what she did and not have such a negative reaction. But when it comes to the rights of individuals, it is hard to people- and I am guilty of this too- to look at it from the other perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think that when you say something like, "you know what, in my country and my family," acting as if you were speaking for the entire nation you stand to offend some people who don't think tradional marriage is the only kind of marriage. And I hope that her remarks did keep her from winning the pageant, because it would be a shame to have someone with such a narrow view on the world representing the face of America.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I do agree with Katie that Miss CA shouldn't have been speaking for the country. It is presumptious and offensive. However, I still think the backlash she received is a from a narrow-understanding of free speech. People are allowed to burn American flags as symbolic speech, and I don't exactly like that, but everyone has their right to free speech and shouldn't be discriminated against for it. I think if this kept her from winning the pageant, we have become a narrow-minded society. To play devil's advocate, would if she had taken the other side? She still may have lost for offending some other judge, and people on the other side would be mad. So the take home lesson is, either we are all grown up enough to have civil, opinionated debates and honor the sacred 1st Amendment or we are not.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The problem I have with it, and this doesn't have anything to do with if she should have won, just basically my politics, is she said what makes this country great is that we have the power to choose, and I think dicriminating against same-sex marriage denies THEIR right to choose marriage. Again... it is just really hard for me to see the other side on this because I'm so passionate about it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. As someone who is a pretty staunch gay-rights supporter I was obviously pretty peeved by Miss CA's comments. But now I think it is actually pretty commendable that she gave an honest answer and voiced her opinion even if I don't necessarily agree with that opinion. And I can understand why some people would be frustrated with the comments that were aimed at her statements. But at the same, don't those individuals have the same First Amendment right to express their opinions as Miss CA? And because gay marriage is such a huge hot-button issue right now I would've been pretty surprised if her statements were not met with at least some degree of criticism. I have a lot of friends whose opinions on this issue represent both ends of the spectrum, and I've often found that talking about it can often be akin to walking through a minefield because there are very passionate people on both sides of the issue. Very tricky subject. But I think we can all agree that Miss CA at least fared better than Miss South Carolina during the Miss Teen USA 2007 Pageant, which has since become the stuff of YouTube legend.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think that everyone is offended too easily today. I Watched the clip on her reply to the judge and his reaction, could the question have been more weighted? He looked heart broken. What did he expect, her to change her beliefs because he had asked the question? Would there have been the same reaction if a straight person would have asked the question. I just think that everyone gets to hurt when people disagree with them. It seems that today everyone is afraid to voice their opinion as the majority in fear that the minority will be hurt.

    ReplyDelete
  8. yeah i agree with the fact taht she should be able to say whatever she wants to say. She was asked a question and answered it. But lets not be ridiculous here. We all know what day and age it is, you can't say anything about race, religion, and gay issues without causing an uproar. We all know this, so why do we play dumb like it's ok for free speech because it's really not. But either way on sensitive issues like these, you have got to be prepared for riducule from both sides. If she says she is for gay marriage, the liberals may love it and it could be politically correct, but the conservatives may go crazy with it as well. You just have to be prepared for the consequences of your actions before you speak. It's not so much free-speech these days on TV and in the Media as it is free speech as long as you dont offend anybody.

    ReplyDelete