posted on Jun, 26 2006 @ 07:18 PM
[WARNING: Perhaps my longest post ever! Imagine that!]
I am with you, Chissler, and although I am fresh off of a medical procedure, and have loads of intravenous pain meds in me, I'm going to try and post
a few cogent thoughts here.
In law school, I was a generally horrible student. I had teachers I literally NEVER saw, as I maintained a "perfect attendance record" in their
courses. In case you're interested, I got a "C" in Corporations (a two quarter course, no less) and a "C-" in Community Property, by doing this. I
also had classes to which I went exactly once, getting me appropriately lousy grades. I set my law school's then-record, probably a still-standing
record, by successfully graduating with 19 units of "D+" or "D".
I did these things for the following reasons:
(1) I knew what courses would be of use to me some day, and what courses were just a miserable, boring waste of time;
(2) I knew I would study the courses I cared about well enough to get great grades in them; and
(3) I felt I was intelligent enough that no matter how many units of "C-", "D+" and "D" I compiled, my overall GPA would not fall below 2.0.
I was right. The biggest class of the second year--the #1 most intellectual of all the 12 required subjects in California law schools--was my best
class: Constitutional Law. My professor was Charles Kelso, the father of one Clark Kelso, who is now the resident Con Law scholar for the California
Supreme Court. Charles Kelso taught that class for 40 years, had about 6,000 students, and said, when he retired, that I was the best student he ever
had. That was 9 units of "A," needless to say, and combined with the 8 units of "B+" I got in Evidence Law--third highest grade in the class of 134,
and I had the #1 highest score on the final--I knew after Year Two I could just pile on the D's in my final year. And brothers, o, did I ever do so.
Anyway, the point of all of this is NOT to tell y'all how terrible a law student I was, nor to boast about the fact my Con Law prof thought I was so
good he wanted to set me up for an Ll.D. (like a Ph.D. in Law, for future Law professors) at U.C. Berkeley. It's to tell you I have a pretty fair
idea of how Con Law works.
Now, I'm 20 years out of date on many things. But I absolutely can think like an expert on Con Law. There is at least one person, and probably more
like 2 or 3, on the US Supreme Court around whom I could run circles on the subject, if I took a year to "get back into shape" for Con Law.
With that background....
The First Amendment is made up of many components. It simultaneously: (1) gives each of us the right to engage in our chosen religion, if any; and
(2) promises us that no state--and, as interpreted by courts, also not the feds--shall impose any religion on us. So forget that b.s. about how this
is a "Christian nation" and it's ok for the government to foist some particular branch of Christianity--usually Pentecostal Protestantism--on you.
It's not. It's a direct violation of the First Amendment.
The first of these rights comes from the First Amendment's "Free Exercise" Clause; the second comes from its "Establishment Clause," which would be
more aptly named its "Anti-Establishment Clause."
OK, now on to free speech, the right most sacredly associated with the First Amendment. Please understand this central fact:
FREE SPEECH HAS NEVER BEEN AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT.
Think about this. If your right to free speech were absolute, you would have the right to engage in all sorts of false advertising. You could say
all sorts of horrible, factually untrue things about people you dislike, and get them printed in newspapers, and cause those people irreparable
emotional and financial harm, and be invulnerable to any kind of lawsuit to set things straight.
That's not how it is, of course. How it is, is that you can get your butt sued off for defamation (libel if written; slander if spoken). The very
facts that commercial speech is so heavily restricted, and that we have lawsuits for libel and slander, show you that there are limits on free
You also cannot shout "FIRE!!!" in a crowded theater, for the purpose of starting a riot.
Nor can you give some vicious, purple speech designed to result in immediate violence on the part of others; California's penal statute on that
subject refers to using "offensive words in a public place which are inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction." This not only
applies to telling someone F--- You; it also applies to, for example, telling a bunch of vile, drunken and deranged skinheads that they should
immediately burn down the synagogue they're standing next to. That speech is NOT protected by the First Amendment, and if they do burn down the
synagogue, you have "aided and abetted" the crime by instigating it, and you're in as much trouble as they are.
OK, class. With me so far on exceptions to free speech?
Now.... In the last 20 years, a new and extremely controversial exception to the First Amendment has appeared. It is for what they call "Hate
Speech." Hate Speech, as I understand it, is speech directed at a person or group of persons based on their race, national origin, religion,
sexual orientation and, perhaps, gender.
To be very blunt, 30 years ago it was vile and despicable, but constitutionally protected, to throw the word "nigg@r" around like it was nothing.
Nowadays, the angry, sadistic or deliberately hateful use of that word is not considered constitutionally protected, as I understand it. Neither are
the supposedly less offensive other hateful words for blacks, nor the hateful words for Hispanics, Jews, Arab-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Catholics,
Ozzie Guillen crossed that line. I doubt that self-promoting, obnoxious, trouble-making JERK of a sportswriter was personally affronted to the extent
he credibly could file a lawsuit over what Guillen called him. But there are words you do not throw around.
Gay men and women have existed for as long as the human race has existed. Heterosexual men, including me, find it impossible to understand being
attracted to another man. We know--sometimes all too damn well--what being attracted to a woman is, how good a woman's body feels, and while we don't
know what a man's body feels like from the outside, we have absolutely no desire to find out and cannot comprehend a man who does.
But so what? Let us just accept the fact that gay men and women exist. They always have and they always will. And most gay men probably find making
love to a woman just about as unfathomable as I find having sex with a man.
Much more important: Gays have ALWAYS been extremely oppressed. A lot of them were gassed in Nazi Germany, and I mean specifically because of their
sexual orientation. I'm sure that not a day goes by when several American men aren't killed because of their being gay. God only knows how many men
and teenage boys get severely beaten because they are gay or what is now called "transgendered."
And over what? Our inability to understand what they feel? Our knowledge that we could never be like them, and our repugnance over what they do? So
what? They let us be, don't they?
When I was a young adult, I hitch-hiked a lot. Two times, I got picked up by gay guys. Both times, they took a simply "no" for an answer. How many
men in barrooms do that with women?
Ozzie crossed a very big line. I think he should be made to pay a very big fine. At his age, he won't get anything out of those classes, and I'm
frankly not sure anyone would. But with his gleefully recalcitrant reaction, it's a mortal cinch his attitude isn't going to change.
So fine his unrepentant @ss is a big way. And make the amount public. Then do the same thing to the next manager or player who makes that kind of