So I was watching some cable news channel the other night and they were talking about Dr. Laura Schlessinger. You know, the moralistic bitch on the radio who is so dedicated to values that a whole portfolio of nude pictures of her is available all over the Internet. The same Dr. Laura who calls homosexuality deviant behavior, a biological error, etc. etc. etc.
I don't really have all that much to say about Dr. Laura herself. She is painful to listen to. I've listened to a couple shows, and she basically gives psychiatric advice to people within a minute or two over the phone. And let's not forget that the people who call in are trashy people with fucked up lives who seem to be addicted to getting themselves into troubling situations. Gee, good for her. I'd rather listen to Dr. Drew and Adam Corolla, anyway. They take themselves far less seriously and they give actual good advice instead of snap judgments.
I read the quotes on the StopDrLaura.com web site. She links homosexuality very strongly with pedophilia and whatnot. Hell, I'm sure some of her quotes were not as harsh as she meant, but it really does seem to me that she hides behind scientific reasoning of the biological implausibility of homosexuality as a springboard for other deeper, more hateful opinions.
Anyway, what was most interesting to me was the debate on the show. One man represented StopDrLaura.com and was attacking her. Another man was defending her (he wasn't representing her officially though). Basically, the anti-Dr. Laura guy said that she should be taken off the air and the pro-Dr. Laura guy was claiming that taking her off the air would be the end of an American democracy as we know it. You know, a lot of bullshit from both sides.
My feelings are as so: Dr. Laura should not be put in the same ballpark as Howard Stern and Tom Green or whoever else is dredged up as scapegoats for what's wrong in the country. Dr. Laura is more like John Rocker of the Atlanta Braves, the guy who had no problem describing New York to the entire world. They're people who deny the world they live in and the future world that will be even worse for those who think the way they do. People like Howard Stern on the other hand do not say what they say in full seriousness like Dr. Laura does. Most of the time they are goofing on the serious types, the people who can't take a joke. Dr. Laura and John Rocker and similar types rationalize their feelings under an aegis of objectivity.
When it comes to free speech, I simply have a problem with defending groups like the KKK or hate mongorers. While it is true that this country was founded to allow people to express themselves in the way that they choose, the key point to remember is that free speech only extends until it starts pushing into another person's space. That is to say, you can hate all sorts of things, but when it starts infringing upon the security of others, it is no longer freedom of expression but just pure hostility. It is uncivil. These kneejerk freedom of speechers forget that there is much more to it than to just say the phrase. Fathoms more.
The reason we have a constitution and set of laws at all is so that we can all get along together. Would the Founding Fathers really condone a reasoning that would support claiming that someone else doesn't have a right to exist? That their behavior, as long as it is civil, is wrong? No, they wouldn't.
For many it is a simple religious issue. Things like homosexuality are wrong because that's what doctrine says. But obviously we cannot have a country of many different religions, all of various beliefs, and still maintain civility if we allow each one of their practices. What's to stop the Catholic Church from deciding tomorrow that all gay people should be exterminated by the word of God? Who cares if it's one of the most predominant religions in the U.S.? It is uncivil and unsafe, and against the principles of the United States.
That said, one thing I fear about all this is that I can understand why Christians do what they do. In theory, they forgive those who do not follow the faith, but they have the opportunity to convert those people before it's too late. Unfortunately, that is a system that does not work very well inside the construct of a hands-off express-yourself-freely democratic philosophy that exists in the U.S. The two just seem incompatible with each other.
So the possibility exists to handcuff Christians who care about this sort of stuff from doing what they feel they've been told to do, because it conflicts with our system of government. I still have no clue how it will turn out, and you still see court skirmishes regarding right to prayer vs. separation of religion and state. What I know is that I'd much rather protect civil rights before "freedom" of speech, if that's what you want to call it. If you don't feel that way, consider being a woman before the women's rights movements, or being black. How would you like it then?
All that complicated crap aside, the freedom of speech argument is just a bunch of bullshit to me. Hate against others is hate. Should people have a right to express themselves? Sure. But when it crosses certain lines, it becomes illegal. Freedom of speech does not overrule every other single part of the Constitution and its amendments.
Being someone who has been expressing his opinions on his web site for half a decade now, I am a staunch advocate of the First Amendment. But one must interpret it within the rest of the Constitution. How does it fit into context? That must also be decided.
Dr. Laura should NOT be taken off the air. Let her make a fool of herself. She is harmless anyway. People will have their effect on her anyway. Many companies have already pulled out of advertising on her show. Some stations have cancelled her. She will get what she deserves.
The funniest part of the whole debate is that Dr. Laura sucks anyway. She is confined basically to radio and most people have never heard of her. She pushes an agenda that will be mocked in 50 years when generations of younger people have weeded out much of the intolerance that we still put up with today. And she will go on record for her views, and in 50 years people will see her for who she really is. People like her are fighting the tide, a benevolent tide in which most people are accepting others for who they are, and realizing that we are all on this hot rock together.
It just upsets me that people so freely massacre the Constitution these days. They take a small passage out of it and disregard the context within which it was placed. It would be like if you used the President's Commander-in-Chief powers as justification for his being able to take over the world. Come to think of it, this slashing of quotes from their context is not unlike what zealots will do with the Bible. How many of them have really stopped to think about what the true intent of a passage from it really meant, instead of warping it to their own conservative agenda?
I have read parts of the Bible, many of them in the original language. It is one of the most beautiful and important works ever composed. Sadly, some people pull so much hate and violence from it.
I can't stand that. Now do you see why I can dislike the views of Dr. Laura and then defend those of Howard Stern? Look behind face value and see what the true intent of a work is. Seeing how they complement each other, you can see whether their motives are constructive or destructive.
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