Freedom of Speech

The President Wants No Debate

The President Wants No Debate

Speaking at a rally in Virginia last week, President Obama called on those who are concerned about his healthcare proposal to stop talking and get out of the way. He wants his plan to go through without any real debate.

The White House also asked people to send them names of those who are spreading what they call “disinformation” on healthcare. Ostensibly, this is so they can correct the “disinformation,” but there is a dangerous side to this as well. It is against the law for the administration to collect names of those who are speaking their minds on policy and disagreeing with the president. This could easily become an “enemies list.”

The tactics being used by Obama and his surrogates are disturbing. These are the kinds of tactics he learned in Chicago politics; they are also the kind employed in totalitarian countries that don’t allow freedom of political speech.

I don’t think he is used to being debated. His personal history, as much as we are allowed to know at least, gives evidence of someone who has had a pretty easy ride, moving up the ladder of outward success with minimum difficulty—helped along by ideologues, the Chicago machine, and some less-than-savory behind-the-scenes operatives. I’m not sure he knows how to handle honest dissent.

Here’s a reminder to Obama and the rest of his staff: the Constitution, in the First Amendment, protects all political speech. That amendment was added because of the fear that an administration would seek to stifle such dissent and use its power to make life miserable for those who dared to speak out.

Now, I know the Constitution doesn’t mean much to him anyway, but since it does still mean a lot to many of us, it’s worth the reminder. And to those of you who have been voicing your concerns: continue to do so. Let this administration know that we value the right of free political speech and will not be silenced.