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Reading Comprehension 105: The 1st Amendment

All things considered, my recent breakdown was rather unpleasant. I won’t go pointing fingers or assigning blame for my rapid descent into temporary madness because I’ve moved beyond that now. I’ve passed through the turbulent storm of cognitive insanity and am now sailing peacefully along on a quiet sea of serenity. I have embraced my demons and learned to accept, even celebrate, what cannot be changed.

Sarah Palin is my muse.

With Sarah Palin, I shall never want for something to mock. Should I ever fear that society has progressed even slightly, Sarah Palin will be there to keep the bell curve low and give me something to write about. Like the sun rising in the east, like the tides themselves, Sarah Palin is an ever-reliable fountain of stupid from which I drink deeply, thankfully, and then share with you, dear readers.

The reason I can do this is because of the First Amendment [caselaw.lp.findlaw.com]. This is something of an important pillar in our society that protects the press and people like me, allowing us to criticize our government and/or political candidates. Not, as Sarah Palin put it, the other way ‘round [blogs.abcnews.com]:

“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

No wonder she got punk’d by the Canadian Jerky Boys [machinist.salon.com]. If I hadn’t already seen her flub the VP job description question, I’d find it hard to believe any politician above city council would have such a basic, back-asswards understanding of the crowning jewel of the Constitution. Essentially, she believes it’s her right to falsely yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. In Palin’s line of thinking, if that’s the right word for it, she should be the sole judge of whether her attacks on Obama are either justified or “negative,” and any criticism of that judgment somehow threatens (her?) First Amendment rights. The First Amendment gives the right to all Americans, even Sarah Palin, to ask questions no matter how stupid or disingenuous they may be. That same right allows people, including the press, to point out when those “questions” are stupid and disingenuous talking points unsupported by anything other than wishful thinking. Particularly when the person asking the “questions” is or is seeking to occupy the White House. This is not a threat to the First Amendment, it’s the active practice of it.

At this point it doesn’t matter where Palin falls on the Stupid / Evil Chart [belarius.newsvine.com]. What matters is that, like Barack Obama, she is a once in a generation politician with unparalleled talent and skill that one could say is the distilled essence of her party and her ideology. That she is consistently and utterly wrong and more fun than two Pat Buchanans in drag is something that, while making her unfit for national office, must be appreciated. Just as we appreciate the ability to point that out without fear of retribution.

Thanks to the First Amendment.

– Michael Turner