Offensive Speech? Just Retract It!

Doesn’t anybody stand by what they say anymore?! Doesn’t anybody say what they mean and mean what they say? Here are some recent comments made by public officials and celebrities and their immediate withdrawals:

Barack Obama
[From CNN] NASHUA, New Hampshire (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is apologizing for saying the lives of the more than 3,000 U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war were “wasted.” During his first campaign trip this weekend, the Illinois senator told a crowd in Iowa: “We now have spent $400 billion and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted.”

He immediately apologized on Sunday, saying the remark was “a slip of the tongue.”

Tim Hardaway
[From ESPN] “You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known,” Hardaway said. “I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States.” “First of all, I wouldn’t want him on my team. Second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don’t think that’s right. And you know I don’t think he should be in the locker room while we’re in the locker room. I wouldn’t even be a part of that.” (and the NBA has now banned him)

“As an African-American, I know all too well the negative thoughts and feelings hatred and bigotry cause,” Hardaway said Thursday in a statement issued by his agent. “I regret and apologize for the statements that I made that have certainly caused the same kinds of feelings and reactions. I especially apologize to my fans, friends and family in Miami and Chicago. I am committed to examining my feelings and will recognize, appreciate and respect the differences among people in our society,” he said. “I regret any embarrassment I have caused the league on the eve of one of their greatest annual events.”

I’m not condoning what these people have said, but a retraction is an insult to our intelligence. American is a free country and people should be allowed to express their opinions. If Obama feels that the lives of the troops were wasted… don’t try and hide it. It is his position, after all, that the War in Iraq was a mistake. That position would mean that the lives lost there were wasted lives, in that they were lives that didn’t need to be lost! He should still have the right to say it and to be judged by it. There is no retraction necessary. (Note: Barack Obama, While I disagree with his position, I fully endorse his right to say it… I also believe it hurts him politically! 🙂

Tim Hardaway got banned by the NBA for his comments. At no time did he threaten a gay person or suggest that others do the same. He stated that he hated gay people. It’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it. You don’t have to agree with it, but you do have to suffer it. “If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. ” ~John Stuart Mill

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I’m not here to defend either of these people, as it is very right that they lose their jobs / public respect. If the public disagrees and doesn’t want to listen to them… who should pay them to speak/represent something that nobody will accept? But it’s also incredible that people like gay rights groups, who rail against discrimination and censorship, use it as a tactic to silence those who disagree with them. It’s the same with racism. Want the ‘N’ word removed from the language? OK! Also never speak the word “Cracker” again. How about no more Pollock jokes… I’m offended because I’m polish. I’m not really offended, but where does it stop? I don’t really want a governmentally-sanctioned language. I don’t want to speak NewSpeak! [from George Orwell’s 1984]

My point is that nothing should be censored from the adult mind. I’m a 27 year old grown man, and I can decide what point of view I find right and wrong… for me, based on my beliefs. If people say something, they say it. It’s out there, un-retractable (no matter how much they want to take it back). I have every right to hear it, because silence is the real crime. It’s time for people to step up and take responsibility for their words, because:

“The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.” – Hubert H. Humphrey

Disagree with me and everything I say in this blog… wonderful! That’s what all this is about, point/counter-point, but NEVER tell me that I CAN’T say something because it might offend someone. Being offended is the start of a dialogue, not the end of thought. Political Correctness will be the death of me!

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