Monday, April 30, 2007

The Right To Be Unpopular

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
Adlai E. Stevenson Jr. (1900 - 1965)

I have something to admit. Despite being a liberal, I can't stand Rosie O'Donnell. She's a loud, abrasive publicity hog who commonly states her opinions in an obnoxious manner, usually in the wrong place and at the wrong time. Nearly every time her comments are reported in the news, I wish that she wasn't on my side of the political aisle, as I believe she's not doing the liberal cause very much good. Even when I agree with her opinions, I rarely agree with the way she chooses to present them, as the end result doesn't seem to persuade people, but, rather, to alienate them.

In the last year or so, her name has been in the news concerning controversies with Donald Trump (who is as obnoxious as she is), the Chinese community, Rupert Murdoch, Kelly Ripa, and the British Navy. In connection with her comments about the British Navy, she also expressed agreement with conspiracy theories about the World Trade center attack, asserting that 7 World Trade Center had been imploded in order to destroy evidence of the corporate financial scandals at Enron and WorldCom.

But however much I deplore her irresponsible and erratic public persona, I don't think she's any worse than Ann Coulter. In fact, I'd say she's got a ways to go before she's even in Coulter's league.

The two women have much in common, however. Each time one of them opens her mouth, she gains points for the other side. And they're both shameless publicity hounds. If too much time goes by without either one getting her name in the news, they are both equally likely to make an outrageous comment in public, guaranteeing that her name will be in the headlines once more.

Nevertheless, I am happy to live in a country where both women are free to express themselves publicly, however outrageous, inappropriate, and obnoxious they usually are. The right to freedom of speech is never more important than when it refers to offensive and unpopular expressions.


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