Friday, June 24, 2005

Hi Ho the Darey O'

the Nazi's are coming to town.

Yes, I just found out they will be in Yorktown, tomorrow morning, to hold a peaceful rally meant to honor George Washington:

...the NSM is holding the Yorktown rally to honor George Washington and other founding fathers whom they claim held separatist and anti-Semitic views.

I know that Washington wasn't the most liberal anti-segregationist in the bunch and fought like hell in wars, etc., but I was not aware that Washington was an anti-Semitic. Can someone help me out on this? I do suppose I could google it, or I can make Jenniebee give us a history lesson (she's a great resource if ever you need to know history, lemme tell ya).

They, too, have a right to a peaceful protest since our Founding Fathers made sure we had the right to freedom of speech by making it our very first Amendment. Being as it was made #1, I'm guessing it was their top priority.

However, this brings up the question: is it free speech when it's damaging or harmful to others? Is it free speech when what you are saying is considered "hate speech?" While the ACLU might shake its head emphatically, most of us might agree that hate speech isn't included within the 1st Amendment.

But that, too, could be challenged because some who are against Bush and everything he stands for use hate speech when they liken him to the Nazi's, such as those who will be protesting tomorrow in Yorktown. I know several people who have referred to him as the new Hitler. Isn't that hate speech?

More directly, I believe hate speech to be more than calling someone 'asshole' or 'bitch.' Hate speech is when white tank tops become "wife-beaters," or when the GodHatesFags crowd hold horrible signs about Matthew Shephard living in hell for his sins and that he deserved to die because he was gay, or when anti-choicers stand on street corners holding false pictures of aborted fetuses, calling the women who go into such clinics, "sinners, whores, going to hell, murderers," and so forth. Nazi's of Hitlers time and of the present, along with the KKK, fall under this category of Free Speech and it's disturbing.

Hate speech is inciting the intense feelings of hate for someone simply because they aren't like you.

Which is why I enjoyed meeting Martin Luther King, III last night at HyperLink Cafe'. He was brought to Richmond through a new political organization (bi-partisan) whose main goal is to get those young adults between the ages of 18-24 interested in politics and to the polls on elections days: GenerationEngage. A lofty goal, but it can be done. Both Chris Lewis and MLK, III spoke about the people that gave their lives, literally, so we all could have the right to vote. Sure it was accomplished at different stages in life, but it was done nonetheless.

It was great seeing MLK, III, because as my friend L. said last night: "He's a walking part of history."

Lt. Governor Tim Kaine was there, as was Russ Potts and Jerry Kilgore's wife. Kaine got up and asked the crowd, "Would you let someone else choose your boyfriend or girlfriend?" Of course we all said no, loudly. Then he answered, "Then why would you let someone else choose who runs your state or country for you?"

Good point but he's preaching to this choir sans Nut House. I've voted in every single election since I turned 18. When I didn't know the candidates, I'd lean over and ask my mom who I was supposed to vote for (I don't do this anymore because now I'm always paying attention, but I wasn't always like I am now either).

To have been in that room last night with such a diverse crowd (I was the minority and it felt great) and hearing such inspiring inclusive speech gave me goose bumps. Seriously people. I wanted to cry I was so damned happy. It also helped to affirm my future direction in this world: poverty, hunger, birth control. All for those who can't say it or know how to do it for themselves.
Then I look at the paper this morning. It's frustrating when you attend such a great event and yet no matter what you do, there are still groups of people who want to put you 4 steps back.