Palin tweets deplorable ‘free speech’ defense of Dr. Laura

OPINION - Even more disturbing is Palin's use of the word 'shackles' to describe Dr. Laura's previous situation as a radio talk show host...

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Should we be surprised that Sarah Palin is supporting Dr. Laura? Via Twitter nonetheless? Probably not. What is shocking, however, is her reasoning. “Dr. Laura: don’t retreat…reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American, not fair”)” tweeted Palin, followed by “Dr. Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles, so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice, America!”

According to the former Republican vice-presidential candidate, Dr. Laura’s treatment isn’t American and her First Amendment rights have “ceased 2exist thx 2activists” and that such treatment “isn’t American.” Apparently Palin never heard about Dr. Laura advising a caller to place her autistic child in a home so that she could have a life in 1999. It is doubtful that Palin, who has a special needs child, supports such advice.

What she does appear to support, however, are Dr. Laura’s comments disparaging blacks and gays. Given that Dr. Laura is now in the maelstrom of controversy because of her n-word rant on air and has previously been in that maelstrom for assertions against gay people and gay rights, it’s a reasonable assumption that Palin supports such commentary. That both she and Dr. Laura refer to the reaction against these offensive remarks as a violation of her First Amendment rights is especially disheartening.

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Did Congress make a law “abridging” Dr. Laura’s freedom of speech? Is telling a black caller in an interracial marriage, “if you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race,” freedom of speech or opinion? Even more disturbing is Palin’s use of the word “shackles” to describe Dr. Laura’s previous situation as a radio talk show host. Because Dr. Laura has been taken to task over her use of the n-word, such a reference is particularly unnerving. There’s no way that Palin missed that detail. So, to use the word “shackles,” which very much evoke images of slavery, in this context is beyond insensitive.

What have we come to as a nation, when a woman who had a reasonable shot at becoming the most powerful person under the president of the United States, revels in her ignorance about the Constitution to willfully support a woman who does not value the rights of others or appreciates the diversity of the nation in which we all live? And Palin’s support is not to be taken lightly. We should all be concerned about the influence Palin continues to exert. There are many Republican candidates who clamor for her support. And they wouldn’t welcome her support if it did not make a difference with voters.

Thankfully two of her candidates, Rita Meyer, who ran for governor of Wyoming, and Clint Didier, who ran for senator in Washington, didn’t make it out of the primaries but that’s not the case for a few others. Pam Bondi and Brenna Findley, both running for attorney general in Florida and Iowa respectively, are Palin’s latest endorsees. Politics aside, what’s key about these two latest endorsements is that Palin did so by Facebook.

Apparently, Dr. Laura was far from wrong about her allusion to the power of the Internet on Larry King Tuesday when she announced her decision to leave radio. In this era of conservative politics gone very wrong, where the very diversity that we prize in this country is up for debate, Palin and others like her are willing to turn one of technology’s greatest innovations to date into an instrument of division and dissension.

Historically, demagogues have been very adept at using film to further their misguided causes. With Palin actively using the Internet to advance intolerant views and Dr. Laura vowing to do the same, America, we should all be very afraid.