Monday, December 22, 2014

Another Case for Respect...

Freedom of speech is guaranteed under our constitution.  What exactly does that entail?  According to multiple Supreme Court decisions, it includes the following rights:

The right to not salute the flag
The right to not speak
The right to wear armbands in protest
The right to used offensive language to forward a political message
The right to make political contributions
The right to advertise (most) commercial products and services
The right to use symbolic speech and actions such as burning the flag during protest

But the number one thing that the First Amendment DOES NOT guarantee is the freedom to use speech to incite actions that cause harm.  It is illegal to shout fire when there is no fire.  And it is illegal to do or say things that incite riots, wars, or terrorist acts.

In a previous blog (It’s a Matter of Respect – Part 1), I talked about the need to have respect for our president, who deserves it simply by virtue of taking on the responsibility of the office.  This same respect should be accorded to the leader of any country, friend and foe alike.  Just as with our president, they deserve a certain amount of respect by virtue of the office they hold, whether you like them or not.

The ultimate in disrespect toward a foreign leader would be to make a movie that pokes fun at that leader and even worse, to make it a movie about assassinating that leader.  It takes a unique type of stupid to think that this is funny.  It takes even more stupid to think that there won’t be any kind of reaction, repercussion, or retaliation, especially from a foreign leader who everyone agrees is a few bricks shy.  If they had made such a movie about our own president, the Secret Service, FBI, CIA, and Homeland Security would be hauling them in for questioning and making their lives a well-deserved misery.
For my money, making this kind of movie about a live, seated foreign leader is no different than shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.  The idea men, the director, the producer, and the studio should be prosecuted for inciting terror.  That would not only hoist them on their own petard, it would likely assuage the bad feelings now brewing between our country and the country in question. Theoretically speaking, we could end up in a military confrontation over a MOVIE, and we all know exactly where that responsibility rests.

Respect is simple.  We need to get back to it.