Did you know that the First Amendment gives every American the right to a nationally-syndicated radio show? I sure didn't! But I learned that it's true on Wednesday, when former governor of Alaska Sarah Palin told me.
Sometimes it feels like you can't go five minutes without learning something from Sarah Palin, Assistant Professor of Folksy Wisdom at Half-Understood University. (Past lectures have focused on contemporary feminism and etymology.) Today we were treated to some wisdom on the constitution when Doc Palin decided to weigh in on the troubling plight of conservative radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
See, "Dr. Laura," as she is affectionately known, recently decided to resign after being widely condemned for a radio broadcast where she used "the n-word," several times, just because. Sarah Palin, like all real Americans, was outraged, and took to her native mode of communication, the Twitter, to express her emotions:
I know what you're thinking: How were Dr. Laura's First Amendment rights violated? Isn't she just receiving heavy criticism for her casual use of an offensive racial slur on the radio? And isn't that criticism in fact a beautiful example of the First Amendment, which is designed to, as Supreme Court Justice William Douglas put it, "invite dispute" and "create dissatisfaction"?
These questions arise from a mistaken reading of the First Amendment, unfortunately shared by most constitutional scholars, whereby a person's rights to freedom of speech are not violated by vigorous criticism or public condemnation. As Professor Palin implies, a correct reading of the First Amendment endows every American with the right to host a radio show, and to use the n-word without ever being criticized, and when Dr. Laura was criticized by disgusting "activists" and decided to resign, it was an abhorrent example of congress making laws to abridge the freedom of speech, and basically means that the U.S. is now under Sharia law.
Dr. Laura must be so proud to have a constitutional scholar with Palin's reputation weighing in on her case. In fact, the "Socrates of Alaska" has encouraging words for her:
Indeed! Dr. Laura is far more "powerful and effective w/out the shackles" of a "nationally-syndicated radio show subject to commercial pressure and public criticism." She will be loudest voice in her own living room! Shout that n-word, Dr. Laura! Shout it loud, and shout it proud! I'm so thankful for her voice!
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