Sunday, September 15, 2002

Digby on the latest historical revisionism by Instapundit et. al.:

Gosh, as I recall, the criticism of the right after McVeigh wasn't about tax cuts it was about guys like Tom DeLay calling the FBI "Jack booted thugs" and G. Gordon Liddy saying that people should use pictures of ATF agents for target practice. Some people thought that might have indicated that some prominent members of the GOP were violently opposed to the federal government and that maybe McVeigh and his ilk could have gotten the wrong idea when they heard those comments.

How silly. The reason those craven Dems criticized the right after Mcveigh was because of their stand on the capital gains tax. Of course.

But, all we have to do to connect al Qaeda to the Democratic party is google for all of those quotes by Dick Gephardt calling for Holy Jihad. You know they're out there...

It doesn't matter what toesucker Morris or backstabber Stephie said, here is what Clinton said after Oklahoma City. It was misrepresented at the time, and it is still being misrepresented now. And that still pisses me off.

We must always fight for the freedom of speech. The First Amendment, with its freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of worship, is the essence of what it means to be an American. And I dare say every elected official in this room would give his or her life to preserve that right for our children and our grandchildren down to the end of time.

But we have to remember that that freedom has endured in our nation for over 200 years because we practiced it with such responsibility; because we had discipline; because we understood from the Founding Fathers forward that you could not have very, very wide latitude in personal freedom until you also had, or unless you also had, great discipline in the exercise of that freedom.

So while I would defend to the death anyone's right to the broadest freedom of speech, I think we should all remember that words have consequences. And freedom should be exercised with responsibility. And when we think that others are exercising their freedom in an irresponsible way, it is our job to stand up and say that is wrong. We disagree. This is not a matter of partisan politics. It is not a matter of political philosophy. If we see the freedom of expression and speech abused in this country, whether it comes from the right or the left, from the media or from people just speaking on their own, we should stand up and say no, we don't believe in preaching violence; we don't believe in preaching hatred; we don't believe in preaching discord. Words have consequences.

If words did not have consequences, we wouldn't be here today. We're here today because Patrick Henry's words had consequences, because Thomas Jefferson's words had consequences, because Abraham Lincoln's words had consequences. And these words we hear today have consequences -- the good ones and the bad ones, the ones that bring us together, and the ones that drive a wedge through our heart.

We never know in this society today who is out there dealing with all kinds of inner turmoil, vulnerable to being pushed over the edge if all they hear is a relentless clamor of hatred and division. So let us preserve free speech, but let those of us who want to fight to preserve free speech forever in America say, we must be responsible and we will be.


UPDATE: Regarding the politicization of OKC, Leah says in comments:

Steffie doesn't say, in his book, which I found on a remainder table for $5.00, which is about five times what it's worth, that Morris was behind anything that Clinton said or did after the Oklahoma bombing. He mentions only that among a stream of ideas spilled out for George at his first lunch with Morris, Dick wanted to mount a campaign against domestic terrorism, i.e., go after the militia groups. Nothing Morris suggested in this regard was ever acted upon.

Clinton was roundly, and unfairly criticized for his statement, especially by true blue liberals like Mark Shield's, who said it was such a rank and unfortunate misstep on Clinton's part, almost ruining his otherwise beautifully Presidential response to Ok.City; most editorial writers followed suit, and as always, the Gingrich Republicans were shocked, shocked to find themselves once again victimized by the evil Clinton. Sack cloth and ashes? Hardly.