I was watching Bill Maher the other day, and he went onto his soapbox regarding Rush Limbaugh’s First Amendment right to free speech. Maher believes that we shouldn’t be attacking Limbaugh for the things he said. It occurred to me that Maher doesn’t have a clue about what the First Amendment actually says. Well, here it is Billy boy:
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.
This Amendment was made applicable to the states by the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, but no matter how hard you look for it you will find no law being violated by a public reaction to Limbaugh’s latest misogynistic rage. Limbaugh has spent a career attacking women. He has every right to do that, and people who disagree have every right to let the people who pay him know that they do not look kindly upon the companies that market their products by employing Rush. Consumers are free to express their opinions to sponsors like Auto Zone or Oreck Vacuum. Hell, that seems downright democratic to me!
So perhaps Maher and the Limbaugh apologists can tell me what the government has done to limit Limbaugh’s right to speak freely? They seem concerned that consumers, outraged by Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke, have expressed that disapproval to Limbaugh’s sponsors, who in some cases, have dropped Limbaugh’s show. In response, Limbaugh has taken the rarest of steps; he apologized for calling a woman he does not know; a third year law student at Georgetown a “slut” and a “prostitute” who should film her sexual exploits so that we could all watch them. The government has not ordered Limbaugh to go off the air. It has not done anything to Limbaugh or his employer to limit what this clown has said or will say. For the record, there has never been an absolute right to speak one’s mind. You may be of the opinion that your employer is a narcissistic jerk and a cheapskate, and you may believe that you have a First Amendment right to express that feeling at the office picnic, but were you to do so you would probably be shocked to learn that the boss is free to can your ass. Your employer may not have the same false sense of the First Amendment which has gripped Bill Maher. It may come as little comfort to know that you cannot be punished by the government as you look for a job!
Mr. Maher, you know better. Rush Limbaugh’s attack upon a college student is only protected from governmental infringement. Hell, I can write to his sponsors and demand that he be fired or I’ll stop buying their widgets without impacting any protected interest. The First Amendment does not require me to buy Oreck vacuum cleaners, nor does it prevent me from notifying Limbaugh’s employer that I think he is a misogynistic racist and a long-standing fool who offends me. The fact that I will refuse to support them by patronizing their products or services is, rather ironically, a form of capitalism that I suspect Limbaugh would approve of, at least in principle.
Here it is Rush. You have every right to call women names, and to demand that they surrender 100 years of social progress so that you can have some sense of order in the fantasy world you want to live in. That is your right. Conversely, I can tell your boss that I will never, ever buy a SleepNumber bed as long as they support your right to express your divisive and highly un-American thoughts.
So what is Maher talking about? I think I know. Mr. Maher is a comedian-entertainer, and in that regard he and Limbaugh are pretty much the same guy. Oh sure, Maher plays a liberal on TV, and is actually funny. Limbaugh works the other angle, and is lacking any recognizable comedic talent. But they aren’t really all that different. Maher calls Santorum all sorts of names and openly ridicules him for his beliefs, and Limbaugh attacks women and minorities with alarming regularity. But both are basically just clowns who ultimately work for sponsors, who in turn work for me. Boycotts are scary things when you know that your employer may be skittish about losing viewers, listeners or sponsors, and you can bet that Bill Maher is as afraid of Limbaugh-bashing, as he is of the political world somehow righting itself.
Mr. Maher, Limbaugh’s constitutional rights are not the issue, and you are a fraud for trying to frame the argument in that fashion.
Limbaugh has spent his entire career spouting hate. Limbaugh has said that “Feminism was established to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society”. If you agree with that sentiment then continue to listen and support his sponsors. If, however, you disagree, then join me and write or make a call to Limbaugh’s sponsors, some of whom are listed below….
- Pro-flowers: www. proflowers.com
- Sleep Number Bed: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Oreck 1-800-289-5888
- Auto Zone 901-495-7185; Fax: 901-495-8374 email@example.com
- Legal Zoom 800-773-0888
- Citrix Online: 805-690-6400.
- American Forces Network: 301-222-6236 , e-mail at American Forces Network@MyAFN.net.
- Mission Pharmacal Company: 800-531-3333
- Lending Tree: 877-768-3983.
Oh, remember one thing….I DO have a First Amendment right so don’t bother contacting my boss.