Free Speech And The Chicks

The Dixie Chicks spoke out critically of President Bush on the event of Operation Free Iraq. They followed it with the yo-yo statement regarding opposing the war and supporting the troops. What? That is like saying you support the means but not the end.

Supporters of the Chicks parrot their right to freedom of speech. That is not a question much less the question. They absolutely have the right to freedom of speech. In part, for that reason our military personnel were in Iraq.

Meanwhile a Congressman made comments regarding certain sexual behavior of which he disapproved. There have been demands for his resignation from committee posts and even from congress. While not agreeing with his statement can one defend his freedom of speech without being consider personally un-PC?

Freedom of speech is a wonderful distinctive birthed by our forefathers. It is a right to be cherished. However, there is a closely associated factor. That is, responsible speech. Say what ever you want but don’t cry and complain when others exercise their freedom of speech to express disapproval. Those disapproving are under no obligation to vote for or buy the CDs of those with whom they disagree.

If a person is going to make a statement they should be willing to defend it or apologize for it. In either case they should accept the consequences.

It is said that many people spend 90% of their time looking for someone to blame. It is such a chronic trait that it has spawned a book entitled, “I’m Not My Fault.”
The Chicks offered as a feeble excuse that they were in a foreign country. That is all the more reason the statement was out of line. The foreign country was England where their Prime Minister was under heavy criticism for aligning with President Bush in the war effort. It was an indirect criticism of Tony Blair. They got two birds with one stone.

Linked with freedom and responsibility is the consequence. There is a price to be paid for free speech. Showing the courage of convictions can be exacting. Our founding fathers were free to speak out against oppression. Having done so they showed the courage to stand by their convictions. It cost most of them dearly. The congressman and the Chicks having exercised their free speech should expect response.

This once more illustrates there is a difference in talent and wisdom. The Chicks by today’s standards are considered musically talented. That does not make them all knowing or all wise. It does make then all the more accountable because of the scope of their influence. To spin off an old axiom: “If you can’t stand the feedback stay away from the microphone.”

Freedom of speech is having the right to speak. Wisdom is knowing the right thing about which to speak, where, and when.

There is also a line in our law which says, “You have the right to remain silent….” That too is a freedom. It is at times a responsibility.

Scripture says, “Speak the truth in love.” There are times love prompts silence. The Chicks didn’t show our President any love or respect. Neither did they show our troops any support.