It's not the Second Amendment that's in peril, it's the First - thanks to Roseanne Barr's big mouth and ABC

As you probably know, Second Amendment proponents are, pardon the expression, up in arms that their right to bear arms will, any second now, be shot out from under them.

So, OK, yeah, I’m a moron – but I’m a PROTECTED moron!

That sentiment – although knee-jerk – is understandable, given public outrage to the near-daily horror of shootings this country continues to endure.  And, surely, while something must be done NOW regarding accessibility of firearms, especially automatic weapons and moreso, those obtained by unhinged people, gun folk can rest assured that their precious Second Amendment will remain untouched, at least by the present Congress.  The gun lobby – aka the NRA – rules, my friends, and Congress is spineless. President Trump, of course, is no help, speaking out of both corners of his big mouth about the NRA, at once vilifying them and then speaking glowingly at their recent convention.

My babies, I am far more concerned about the First Amendment:

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.

As written, the amendment protects everything from campaign rhetoric to stupid, racist, ignorant speech. In other words, many of the utterances of Roseanne Barr.

Roseanne never has been the soul of eloquence or even sanity.  She’s spewed crazy, questionable shit in the past, and this weekend got her arse in a sling for making a nasty, racist comment against former Obama adviser, attorney Valerie Jarrett.  (Which the dignified Ms. Jarrett hopefully ignored, considering the source.)

And she lost her recently-rebooted Roseanne TV series because of it; ABC summarily pulled the plug on the show – a ratings juggernaut, by the way – today. But they jumped the gun. They held us cheap.

Understand, I am no apologist for Roseanne Barr.  But I do revere our First Amendment rights.  We’re not talking illegal here, we’re not talking #metoo. We’re simply talking ignorant speech from a moron.

Of course Roseanne shouldn’t be spewing ignorant, racist bullshit.  No one should.  But as there have been haters since time began (just ask Jesus and the Incas and Irish and Italian immigrants to the US in the early 1900s and European Jews in 1939 and Muslim-Americans today – just to name a few million), there also always have been intelligent, discerning, right-thinking people who march for freedom and run for office to vanquish inequality and raise their children not to hate and work to quash ignorance in their communities.

What they do not do is fuck with the First Amendment.  They work within its framework for the common good, for the betterment – the elevation – of society.

You’re either pregnant or you’re not.  You’re either free or you’re not.  And you either have freedom of speech – as afforded us by the Constitution – or you don’t.  And it’s precious.  Just ask those without it (North Korea, I’m looking in your direction).

Thank God that decent Americans also have free will and brains and self-respect and reasoning and the ability to rise above hurtful, stupid statements from the likes of Roseanne Barr.

If ABC hadn’t rushed to make up our minds for us, all we would have had to do was not watch the damned show.  ABC gave the whole mishagas too much credence – and us, not enough. This kind of trigger-happy decision abets the slippery slope toward government censorship. Don’t believe me? Go Google, “Senator Joseph McCarthy, Wisconsin.”

The First Amendment is a sacred thing – even if it does protect ignoramuses like Roseanne Barr. Yes, she had the right to say what she did. And we had the right to ignore her into television oblivion once again – where she belongs.


THAT’S RIGHT…. come closer…. closerrrr……

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  • Thank you, dear Michelle. I have no patience at all with Roseanne Barr, but I I would have liked one further chance to watch her show -- in order to ignore that chance and help demonstrate how low the ratings can go. I have never once found her funny.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Agreed, Margaret.

    RB was a wonder as a young stand-up, and I really enjoyed her old show, the first several seasons only, before the character became a stone cold bi-yach. And I thought the reboot really stank up the joint.

    Why she went after Valerie Jarrett is really weird. Alas, she is more like her idol, Trump, than she probably imagined - both hoisted by their own petards. No internal filters.

  • ABC, being a business, can fire whom they want within equality under the law, and Barr made racist statements they thought will reflect badly on them. MSNBC has kept Joy Reid on despite making homophobic blog posts and then lying about making them. Both organizations are within their rights to do so.

    The First Amendment protects free speech in regards to and for and about comments made about the government. Otherwise, there are restrictions, such as "shouting fire," etc.

    A scenario to consider: suppose criticism of Trump were suddenly outlawed. What would a concerned population do? Suppose that restriction on breaking bad on DT were enforced at the end of a gun by law enforcement, acting on some law passed by a Congress that cares only about its recess and the bribes it collects? The people could sit there and be subject to an unjust law and have no resolve other than going to prison, or an oppressed people could fight back under their Second Amendment right. The Second Amendment is to protect free speech for and against the government; it's not about a hunter bagging a deer.

    Oh, that will NEVER happen. Uh-huh, bet you believed Hillary would be jetting about in Airforce One 18 months ago. It can happen here, and you can't bring a kitchen knife to a government silencing your right to free speech with --yes-- fully automatic weapons, with the force of law behind them.

  • Interesting, isn't it, that the very same people who are furious with NFL players exercising their free speech rights can howl to the moon that Roseanne Barr's are being trampled?

    She can say whatever she wants. She does not - repeat, NOT - have the right to an audience. Free speech only comes with the right to be ignored at a potential listener's discretion.

  • I agree with the spirit of what you say. I do differ in opinion on the details.

    The points I offer are subtle, but important.

    You quoted the first ammendment. Who is is directed at? Spoiler: It's Congress. "Congress shall pass no law..." And they haven't. It is not directed at the individual nor is it directed at the corporation.

    Our speech is protected because the government cannot pass a law to restrict it. In our form of government, everything is legal and everything is free until that freedom is taken away by the passing of a law. Law grants and protects nothing. It only takes away. The Constitution is a document directed nearly entirely towards the government. It is also nearly entirely negative, meaning it is a list of things the government shall not do.

    This debacle of Roseanne and ABC is, in no way, related to the First Amendment. It is ABC deciding to protect its brand in a way that it sees best. Roseanne can continue to trot out tripe on Twitter and face the consequences because there is no law preventing it.

  • In reply to Rick Bohning:

    Points well-taken, Rick.

    I appreciate your thoughtful, respectful delivery.

    PS - There was one law made not to take away, but to mandate compliance - the so-called Obamacare act.

  • In reply to Planet Michelle:

    Let me first state that there are some freedoms that we ought not have. Take the abolition of slavery. While this law granted freedom to many, it did take the "freedom" of owning slaves from several. To be sure, we ought not have the freedom to enslave another, but because of abolition, it is an option or freedom no longer available.

    Now consider ACA...while its spirit and intent is to provide healthcare to many more than currently have it, the forced compliance (i.e. buy healthcare or be fined) does take away liberty. It takes away the the choice to not be covered. I could imagine a young healthy entrepreneur who wants to spend her money on developing her new business and buying only the most basic of health care. That option is not available with ACA.

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