If Fox News ever enters the original movie game, I’ve got the perfect premise for its first film: Sarah Palin and Free Speech: A Love Story.
The former Alaska governor just can’t stop bringing up her favorite constitutional amendment – especially when complaining about all the folks using their right to free speech to criticize conservatives for exercising their right to free speech. Or something. (She uses “free speech” and “First Amendment rights” pretty interchangeably, so I’m going to as well. That’s my right as an American.)
Take yesterday, for example, when she wrote a blistering defense of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson – who was suspended by A&E after making anti-gay comments in a new GQ interview. “Free speech is an endangered species,” Palin wrote on Facebook beneath a photo of her posing with the Duck Dynasty gang. “Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”
And this, of course, is far from the only time Palin’s gone to that same “free speech” well. Her affair with the First Amendment has been long, torrid, and undoubtedly frustrating for constitutional scholars. Come, let’s take a walk down memory lane:
After expressing concern that reporters would accuse her of “negative campaigning” for making references to Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers: “If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations, then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”
In defense of Miss USA hopeful Carrie Prejean, who caused a stir by saying during the pageant that “marriage should be between a man and a woman”: “I applaud Donald Trump for standing with Carrie during this time. And I respect Carrie for standing strong and staying true to herself, and for not letting those who disagree with her deny her protection under the nation’s First Amendment Rights. Our Constitution protects us all – not just those who agree with the far left.”
Upon accepting David Letterman’s apology for making crude jokes about her daughters: “Letterman certainly has the right to ‘joke’ about whatever he wants to, and thankfully we have the right to express our reaction. This is all thanks to our U.S. Military women and men putting their lives on the line for us to secure America’s Right to Free Speech – in this case, may that right be used to promote equality and respect.”
In defense of Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who quit her radio show in disgrace after drawing criticism for repeatedly using a racial slur, Palin tweeted: “Dr. Laura: don’t retreat…reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence’isn’t American,not fair’)”
In response to NPR terminating Juan Williams’ contract after the news analyst admitted that he “get[s] nervous” when he sees Muslim people on planes: “NPR defends 1st Amendment Right, but will fire u if u exercise it. Juan Williams: u got taste of Left’s hypocrisy,they screwed up firing you”
Criticizing the Supreme Court for ruling that the Westboro Baptist Church’s military funeral protests are protected by the First Amendment: “Common sense & decency absent as wacko ‘church’ allowed hate msgs spewed@ soldiers’ funerals but we can’t invoke God’s name in public square.” Later, she clarified her comments: “Obviously my comment meant that when we’re told we can’t say ‘God bless you’ in graduation speeches or pray before a local football game but these wackos can invoke God’s name in their hate speech while picketing our military funerals, it shows ridiculous inconsistency. I wasn’t calling for any limit on free speech, and it’s a shame some folks tried to twist my comment in that way. I was simply pointing out the irony of an often selective interpretation of free speech rights.”
In defense of Rush Limbaugh, who came under fire for calling law student Sandra Fluke a “slut”: “I think the definition of hypocrisy is for Rush Limbaugh to have been called out, forced to apologize, and retract what it is that he said in exercising his First Amendment rights, and never is that – the same applied to the leftist radicals who say such horrible things about the handicapped, about women, about the defenseless.”
After activists learned that Chick-Fil-A had donated millions to anti-gay groups and called for a boycott of the fast food company: “Well, that calling for the boycott is a real – has a chilling effect on our 1st Amendment rights. And the owner of the Chick-Fil-A business had merely voiced his personal opinion about supporting traditional definition of marriage, one boy, one girl, falling in love, getting married…I’m speaking up for him and his 1st Amendment rights and anybody else who would wish to express their not anti-gay people sentiment, but their support of traditional marriage.”
And, just for fun, let’s end by taking a look at what the First Amendment actually says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.