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Friday, May 16, 2014

Political Correctness v US Constitution

Robert Copeland, 82 year old Police Commissioner of Wolfeboro, NH, exercised his First Amendment Right and now is being asked to resign. He was at a local restaurant and "pulled a Donald Sterling." I do not know the words he used, however, he made a racial slur aimed at Barack Obama.

But Copeland has the right to say whatever stupid thing he wants to say. He will be judged for his honesty or stupidity by his peers. Yes, he was stupid to say it, and even more stupid to say it in a public place, but if all of us lost our source of employment for saying something insensitive, untrue, or stupid, most of us would be on the dole, and that would make Obama happy.

The town manager and board of selectmen joined with residents in demanding the resignation of Copeland, who held the post since March. 

Over 100 town residents were at the commission's meeting to demand the resignation., but Copeland said that he won't apologize for using the expletive slur, because he believes that Obama meets the criteria for it. Whether you believe that or not, we need to ask ourselves if Copeland has the right to say what he wants without jeopardizing his job. We need to consider the Constitution.

Here's a refresher on the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

We have this as part of the Bill of Rights not for speech that we agree with, but for speech that may offend us. To punish someone for exercising this right, is a way to put an end to having this right.

I have mixed feelings about the situation. On one hand, Copeland represents the town, but on the other, we are systematically eroding away our rights through Political Correctness. What might have been a tongue-lashing in the past for such behavior, has become a severe punishment by people who are just as fallible as the miscreant who perpetrated it.