Politically Incorrect Zone–The double standard of free speech

"In its opinion, the court said that schools in general have wide latitude in curbing certain civil rights to ensure campus safety."

story times; font-size: 12pt;”>By Kevin Harris

On September 17, 2014 – Constitution Day, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that: “No further petitions shall be permitted” in an important free speech case in California. It was a shocking decision for most people. The case involves four students at Live Oak High School in Morgan, CA who were sent home for wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo. The court sided with school officials, saying that they could censor students showing their patriotism by wearing flag shirts.



One issue with the case is that the school claims they are simply protecting the students with the flag shirts from possible violence by Mexican students, who might be offended by the flag shirts. This argument, ultimately, is what the courts used to justify siding with school officials. Keeping the peace, as it were. But a major problem with that argument is that the school allowed Mexican students to wear and carry Mexican flags without restriction! I am not a lawyer, but I do believe such double standards violate the law.

Political correctnessHere’s another “double standard” issue with all this… and this is something I mentioned in last week’s column. The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that burning an American flag in protest is protected speech. But now the Ninth Circuit Court tells us that wearing or carrying an American flag is not? It makes no sense at all. Where is the consistency?

I see two profound issues that need addressing from this. The first one I’ll present as a question: What are the American people to do when our politicians and our courts act in concert to revoke our most basic rights and liberties? In other words, what restorative mechanism is in place when our Bill of Rights is being blatantly swept aside and disregarded? Let me first offer that “voting bad politicians out” is NOT a valid answer, and here’s why. If and when the masses continue to vote IN politicians hostile to individual Liberty, the result will be that the masses indirectly vote away our basic, individual rights – something our Republic was formed to protect against!

So something else is needed.

The second issue is a little harder to pinpoint in a paragraph, but I’ll try. Limiting my examples to the American flag might help. OK. We have many on the political Right who are so offended by folks who burn the flag that they support jail time for them… or worse. Likewise, many on the Left find blatant patriotism and the wearing of flags to be offensive, and would just assume burn their flags while they’re wearing them! It’s the blinding polarization of opinion that renders our ONE protection from true tyranny useless – that true protection being our Bill of Rights.

We must first be willing to give Liberty before we can expect Liberty.

Kevin Harris

Kevin Harris

Kevin Harris is a former reporter, editor and journalist, and previous President of Cal State Northridge’s Society of Professional Journalists. He is now a realtor and videographer, and lives with his two children in Oak Park. 


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