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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

MLive: Despite her own imagined martyrdom, no one is trampling on Janice Daniels' free speech rights

By Jeff T. Wattrick | 
I’ll say this for Janice Daniels and her consternation about "the queers" gettin’ married, she didn’t equivocate in her response to the controversy.

Did she author the offending Facebook message? Yes, she said. Was her use of the word “queer” inappropriate? Again, yes, she acknowledged it was, even as she stood behind her opinion on gay marriage.

Sometimes what is meant to be perceived as glib or clever, just comes out as insulting or vulgar.

Howard Cosell was an unabashed New York City liberal, a friend of Jackie Robinson, and—as a Jew—a defender of Muhammad Ali’s faith and politics when it wasn’t popular to defend Ali. He also famously stepped in it when he once referred to Alvin Garrett as a "little monkey."

Granted, Cosell’s intent wasn’t as questionable as Daniels’, but my point is people make mistakes. Sometimes they speak or write inartfully. While Equality Michigan Executive Director Denise Brogan-Kator is right to say these things shouldn’t go unnoticed, Daniels’ slur is a venial rather than mortal sin. At least it should have been.

Unfortunately, Daniels goes off the I-made-a-mistake rails when she tries to play the First Amendment card. Others followed her lead. “B’wana” led off MLive’s comments section on our report by saying: “And the thought Police (sic) assemble. She's entitled to have any opinion she wants.”

The truth is Daniels is, and always has been, free to shout “QUEERBURGERS!” in the most popular chain restaurant in the busiest strip mall in Troy. No one is disputing that fact.

Some people really should invest in the writings of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, because the criticism Daniels is facing is not even remotely comparable to what happens in societies with actual thought police. The very assertion is so ignorant that it insults the legacy of the heroes and martyrs who endured totalitarianist re-education and concentration camps.

The straw man First Amendment argument demonstrates a rather pathetic fact about the tea party right. They’ve developed a hippy-dippy “everyone gets a trophy” attitude, believing their most special thoughts and precious opinions should be sheltered from any sort of criticism. 

Hells bells, Moonbeam, life is hard. Wear a helmet.

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