Monday, July 25, 2005

Freedom Is A Messy Business...

Is Gay Pride week a nationally recognized holiday? (Or group of holidays, as it were?) Are our tax dollars rightly spent promoting Gay Pride book displays, Gay Pride parades, or other Gay Pride festivities? Who, if anyone, has the power to decide whether to promote Gay Pride week, or to try to obscure it behind the shelves or in the back room of the public library?

"(Hillsborough county) Commissioner Ronda Storms said she will schedule the (Gay Pride display) issue for a board discussion where she intends to ask that such displays be banned. As the mother of a 6-year-old daughter, she said she does not want to be forced to explain homosexuality and transexuality if her child passes such a display and starts asking questions.
"I do not want to have to explain to my( 6 year old) daughter what it means to question one's sexuality," Storms said during a budget workshop Wednesday."(From St. Petersburg Times, June 9,2005)

In Hillsborough county (Tampa), Florida, the county commission has voted 5-1 to ban Gay Pride displays in public libraries.

I am having a really hard time with this one.

Do I want my tax dollars going to promote Gay Pride? No. Do I think that Gay Pride is an appropriate subject for discussion with every patron of the public library, regardless of age? No. Do I agree with the Gay lifestyle and the activities that this lifestyle encompasses? No.
(MY OPINIONS. Whether anyone agrees or not, I have the right to think what I think, and to say whatever I want.)

I do, however believe in the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. I believe that the public library should be and MUST be the repository of ideas and alternative viewpoints. In my opinion, if there is a place in the world for a display about Gay Pride, it is the public library.

Now, before you Conservative religious types come out of the woodwork and hammer me for supporting a public display dedicated to Gay Pride, remember that I also support the Ten Commandments being displayed in Courthouses, if the majority of the community has no problem with it. To me it is the same arguement.

Either you believe in freedom of speech or you don't.

I do.

Even if it means that I have to support a Gay Pride display, I still believe in freedom. (This also means that I would support an ANTI- Gay display in the same library, or Nazi-ism, or the Ku Klux Klan, or a display of Hillary Clinton's new book.) ("Freedom of speech" means "FREEDOM of speech".)

I don't, however, believe that a Gay Pride display (or ANY display on any subject that is as controversial as Gay Pride) should be in the common area of the library. It should be in the Adult Non-Fiction section, where the children of people who would like to sheild their young children from subjects like this, until they feel that their children are able to cope with such things, will not stumble across it, and ask questions to which they may not be able to understand the answers.

I think that the Board of Commissioners got this one wrong. They should have regulated the displays, limited the areas in which they could be erected, and allowed the displays to stand.

Until the end of Gay Pride week.

And then they should have denied any request from the Gay community, whatever it was, until Gay Pride week next year.

I will state for the record that I believe that until a cure for the AIDS virus is found, that it is an extremely bad idea for society to promote the Gay lifestyle. However, I also believe that even Gays have the constitutional right to express their opinions in public just like everyone else, whatever their opinions may be.

Freedom is a messy business...

I must give credit where credit is due. My Democrat friend ER was the first that I ever saw use the phrase "Freedom is a messy business..."
I thought it was very profound.

26 comments:

Xena76 said...

While I agree that the Freedom of Speech should be protected at ALL costs, and I agree that if the Ten Commandments should be allowed to stand that the Gay Pride display should not be banned, we do disagree on one point.

In the climate we have right now, with the laws we have right this minute, the 10 Commandments have been banned from the courthouse (at least in Kentucky, maybe more but I don't know). If the Supreme Court has decided that they can censor the Ten Commandments (which also has value as a historical structure, by the way) I think the County Commission in Hills. Co. has as much right to require the removal of the display. It goes back to having it both ways. I don't think the County Commission got it wrong, the Supreme Court did and if the Ten Commandments have to be removed, so does the Gay Pride display.

They opened this can of worms, they have to live with what should be the consequences of their actions. Which taken to its logical end I guess would mean that there can be no displays of any sort. 1984 here we come...

carrier said...

Spoken like a true Republican. You're all for freedom of expression...as long as it is within a specified timeframe. Maybe public libraries across the country should remove any reference to African Americans until next February. Or how about cleaning the shelves of all things Irish until St. Patricks Day. You can't just pick and choose when to allow freedom of expression and speech.

However I do agree with you as far as location of material. Regardless of how certain adults may feel on the subject of homosexuality, discretion with regard to juveniles is always the better part of judgement. Some parents won't let their kids watch Will & Grace while others don't want them watching NASCAR.

Freedom really isn't all that messy, it just takes a little common sense. Which unfortunately seems to be in short supply around Washington D.C. these days.

tugboatcapn said...

If sexuality could be kept in the bedroom where it belongs, then I would have no problem with anyone doing anything with anyone they want (with the exception of pedophilia.)
When I have a problem is when people try to shove things down my throat (to borrow a phrase from the left.)
If we have to have a Gay Pride week, then let's celebrate it during that week, and then go on about our lives. I never said we should remove any books from the library on any subject at any time. I don't have any problem with Black history month, or any other celebration of ethnicity, I just don't see the need for excessive displays to be continually in the library.
That was my point.
I didn't write this post to try to offend anyone.
And by the way, Thanks for the "True Republican " compliment...

Erudite Redneck said...

"Some parents won't let their kids watch Will & Grace while others don't want them watching NASCAR."

That last part's fightin' talk ...

carrier said...

Well no kidding. The article gave no indication that anyone wanted the display left in perpetuity.

As to the 'compliment'; paring down freedom is a goal of the Republican party and if you enjoy being a part of that then so be it.

rich bachelor said...

I kind of think that the gauntlet's already been dropped on the "keeping it in the bedroom" thing. As long as laws continue to be passed regarding these people who are doing (whatever term you wish) in their bedrooms, then the option to keep quiet about it on their part is rather effectively negated.

tugboatcapn said...

What law has been passed recently restricting what anyone can do in the privacy of their bedroom?
And where did you get the ridiculous notion that Republicans(in particular) want to pare down Freedom?
You guys aren't making any sense.
If you have specific examples of this stuff, then please cite them.

Mark said...

Tug, "paring down freedom is a goal of the Republican party" is another of the things that Liberals like to spout out hoping against hope that no one will call them on it and make them supply proof. They can't because it simply isn't true. If anyone wants to pare down freedoms it's the liberals. Does trying to repeal the 2nd amendment ring a bell? How about the enacting of legislation in Oregon that allows doctors to kill old and infirmed patients? Oh, wait. I guess if we didn't allow that it would pare down the right of doctors to violate their hippocratic oath.

Show us proof or find a new argument, Libs.

tugboatcapn said...

Mark, how about the fact that both of these guys ran out and ( I am assuming) voted for the candidate in the last election who threatened book publishers with lawsuits if they didn't pull books from the store shelves and destroy them because that particular candidate didn't like the content?
And get ready.
If Hillary runs in 2008, she will for sure try to have Conservative Talk Radio programs declared "in kind" contributions to the Republican party under McCain Fiengold, and attempt to silence Limbaugh and Hannity in the last 60 days leading up to the election.
The First Amendment was put into the Constitution not to allow people to say the "F"word on the radio, or in front of my Grandmother, but for the SPECIFIC PURPOSE of protecting the type of speech that Limbaugh and Hannity engage in, and specifically leading up to elections. (And don't try to tell me that McCain is a Republican. He's a Liberal and I will NEVER vote for him for ANYTHING.)

rich bachelor said...

McCain? An anti-abortion liberal? I've never heard of that before. Who knew?
Here in Oregon, where we're supposed to know better, we passed a law last year saying that queers can't marry. This was largely in response to a handful of county commissioners who got together and decided that gay marriage should be legal, without bothering to ask anyone else, which was really, really stupid.
Okay, that's Oregon. Yes, there are in fact laws governing what happens in the bedroom in North Carolina at least (not so much Texas anymore, though...), and that ain't the point.
The point is that if there's really honestly not hatred of the unfamiliar informing your argument ('disgust' to one side, Mark), or if you don't mind as long as it doesn't offend you in public (Cap'n), then why should these people who pay taxes, have jobs, serve their communities and raise families (except in states where That's illegal, and there's plenty of 'em) not get the same benefits that any other two stupid people in love get? Really. Especially when it hurts nobody at all.
And yeah, you do 'assume'...Whatever it was you were talking about, since I have no idea. But-to put this whole 'only the other guy calls names' thing to rest-sure let Hannity and Limbaugh have their market share (that they already have), but let's not hear anyone whining ever again about how Al Franken is 'hateful', how Michael Moore is 'treasonous', how any senator or representative who questions Bush is not fit for office. Okay? Can we agree that both sides do it, finally?

carrier said...

Paring down freedom. Okay we will start with abortion. Conservatives want to deny a womans right to have an abortion. The Patriot act top to bottom. If I call the local FBI and tell them I think my neighbor is a terrorist they could come and throw him in jail and hold him there for as long as they please. Gay marriage. Republicans convinced enough people in many states that gays getting married to each other somehow threatened heterosexual marriage. Not only can gay couples not get married, they do not even qualify for legal civil unions. Death with dignity. When an individual is suffering from what is without a doubt a terminal disease, Republicans have worked overtime in an effort to make sure they continue to suffer until death finally takes them. Drugs. Specifically marijuana is a natural pain reliever that would be much cheaper to produce than designer pain killers, but Conservatives would rather deny a patients right to seek whatever relief is available. All the Republicans do is attempt to pare down the freedoms of Americans.

Mark said...

Conservatives want to deny a womans right to have an abortion.

So I am to assume that a baby's right to live isn't as important as the mother's right to end that life??

liberals want to deny a baby the right to live, which is a violation of the constitution. Abortion is not in the constutition. Read the 14th amendment. Right to LIFE!

carrier said...

I've said it before, abortion is a terrible choice. Like you said Mark, it is a womans right to keep her legs crossed. I couldn't agree more. Abortion should not be used as a method of birth control.

Women who have become pregnant as a result of rape or similar nonconcentual sex and in the event of medical necessity should have the right to chose.

Second amendmant rights. I own guns. I've hunted all my life. As an American I believe I have the right to own as many guns as I choose. The question is how many weapons do I need?

tugboatcapn said...

Whether or not you NEED guns, how many guns you NEED, or how big a gun you NEED is for YOU to decide and no one else.
Anything else is paring down freedom.
The number of women who become pregnant through rape and incest every year is so small that it doesn't even qualify as an argument. By the way, have you ever asked any woman who became pregnant through sexual assault if she WANTED an abortion?(www.afterabortion.info/news/WPSApetition.htm)I believe that if these women sincerely desire an abortion, then abortions should be available to them. But if we stop abortions for the purpose of birth control, and allow them in cases of rape, we will see the number of reported rapes skyrocket.
Medical necessity is for a doctor to decide.

When these children (which you so callously call "choices") are aborted, their right to ever own a gun, their right to freedom of speech (I wonder what these children would have to say?),their right to even exist is snatched away from them. To give even their mother the ability to deprive these children of every right that human beings are guaranteed by the constitution is paring down freedom.
And Bachelor, I never said anything about McCain being pro or anti abortion. I also would like to point out that I have not used (nor do I ever use) the word "Queer" when refering to homosexuals. That one came from you. I find it offensive.
I am about as conservative as they get, but I think that the medical Marijuana issue should be a states rights issue. As a matter of fact, I believe that if someone wants to smoke pot recreationally,(although I personally have never tried pot)then that is their business. It should not be against the law, as long as alcohol and cigarettes are legal.
The problem that I have with the "Medical Marijuana" debate is that "Medical" Marajuana is not what the pro Marijuana crowd is really interested in. They want it legalized for recreational use and are not honest about their true intentions.( A fault that I find common with the radical left.)
Since the dawn of the Human race, the concept of Marriage has meant the partnership of a male and female for the purpose of procreation, and the rearing of children. For us to try to re-define it now seems to me to be the very hight of arrogance and selfishness. While I have no problem with Civil Unions between gay couples, to insist that it should be "marriage" is to re-define the word.It will cause nothing but confusion for any children caught(by no decision of their own) in these abnormal situations.
Republicans are trying to spread freedom around the world, and are confronted at every turn by the screaming objections of the radical left.
To say that Republicans desire to pare down freedom flies in the face of reason.

tugboatcapn said...

Oh, and Bachelor, the anti-sodomy laws that you refer to are mostly over 100 years old, and can hardly be laid at the feet of modern Republicans.
They are never prosecuted anyway.
Nice Try...

Mark said...

I was going to respond to the rest of carriers coments, as When I last commented on here I was pressed for time. But Tug, You have said everything I would have said, except I want to say one more thing about the so-called right to abortion.

There is no such right. There never has been. Roe v Wade is an unconstitutional ruling.

On the other hand, All American citizens, whether born here or naturalized, have a right to life, according to specific language contained in the first article of the 14th amendment. There is no right to privacy stated there, neither literally or implied, and accordingly certainly no right to kill babies. It is never right to kill babies. Not even in the case of rape. Especially since there are other options available, like adoption. Also let me add this little known fact. In a rape a woman is usually so traumatised by the assault that a chemical is released into her system which prevents pregnancy. That does not, of course, happen in every case of rape, but it happens more than not. Very few rapes result in pregnancy. It certainly doesn't occur enough to warrant creating a new amendment to the constitution just so a few women can kill their babies.

tugboatcapn said...

Mark, you should go to that website that I put the address for in that last comment. It is truly amazing...

Toad734 said...

The 10 commandments and gay pride in the library are not even in the same category.

Whether or not the phrase exists in the constitution is irrelevant, bottom line is we have a separation of church and state in this country and that is what the 10 commandment display on public property is all about, at least when those 10 commandments are in a religious context. Essentially the state cannot endorse the 10 commandments as law, because 70% of the 10 commandments are not laws.

The Gay pride display in a public library is not an issue of religion and state therefore falls under a different jurisdiction.

Should Libraries be forced to put up a gay pride display? Absolutely not.

Should a library in a gay neighborhood in Chicago or San Francisco be able to but up a display of books written by gay authors during gay pride week? Absolutely

Should the local libraries be responsible for the content based upon community standards as long as they don't violate federal law or anyone’s civil rights? Absolutely

Does a parent who goes into a library have a right to complain about a display or the types of books carried? Sure

Does the Library have the right to tell them "too bad" because not everyone feels the way that one individual feels? Absolutely

Can that one person go to another library, or avoid explaining it to their child? Absolutely

A lot of people don't want Huck Finn, Of Mice and Men to be in libraries and are offended by these books, but is that their problem or ours? Ill answer that, it's theirs, If you don't want to be around books don't go to the library, if you don't like certain books, don’t read them and don't let your kids read them.

By the way the Bible has more sex and violence than most books that end up on the banned lists.

Toad734 said...

RE: Tug Sexual content in the bedroom comment

Then why are republicans putting it on the evening new? Why do we now have to explain homosexuality to 3 year olds just because the President is trying to make amendments against them?

rich bachelor said...

Yeah, that was my original point, Toad.
My use of 'queer' works pretty well as a catchall term where I come from, and isn't viewed as derogatory. So why do you find it offensive, Cap'n?
Regardless of whether or not anti-sodomy laws ever get enforced (although it was one of those cases that brought the Texas case to the Supremes), they're there, and if someone wants to burn someone with them, they can. Furthermore, the adoption and marriage stautes definitely fall under the category of laws that withhold privileges granted to the general run of citizens, for what I feel is a pretty arbitrary reason (that has its origins in the religious beliefs of another specific group, I'm sorry to say).
So, in a roundabout way, I'm saying that the above laws (which you asked me to name, way back in the thread) may very well violate the Establishment Clause, not that anyone pays attention to the Constitution anymore.

Xena76 said...

Republicans did not put homosexuality on the news, gays did. It wasn't just brought up to the President, it was tossed in his face.

The Texas sodomy case that you are referring to, was taken to the "Supremes" as you call them and the law was overturned.

Finish the research you start or don't cite it.

rich bachelor said...

Oh plenty of people call them that. Relax.
As I said above, at least in the state I live in, the issue became far more of one due to the misguided actions of a few (liberal) county commissioners who decided that they could legalize queer marriage without consulting the voters, or even the other commisioners. Stupid; and I knew what it would lead to. I never once said Bush started this one.
However, it is the sort of non-issue that I notice Republicans are often fond of using to distract the electorate from things that might actually be harming their quality of life.
Okay-they overturned the law in Texas. Yes, I know...And I even said that. The rest of the states that have these "harmless", "antiquated" laws are soon to follow, no doubt?

Toad734 said...

I may be getting on the subject of something I don't know much about, but it seemed that since there are not laws on most states books saying 2 people of the same people can't get married, and that marriage was never officially declared "between a man and woman only", I think someone just decided to try and someone issued them a marriage license and then all the neo cons got up in arms and tried to redefine marriage and revoked the gay marriage licenses that were handed out. That is what put it on the headlines, the people trying to stop it, not the other way around.

So it wasn't the gay people shoving it into Bush's face.

But as I said, I may be wrong about some of the above, and if someone has proof otherwise, feel free to share.

rich bachelor said...

Good luck,Toad. No matter how measured your language, these folks are probably going to try the oldest political trick in the world: make them deny something that you didn't say or do. Nixon made an art form out of it, but Johnson wasn't bad, either.
What I wonder is: since none of us are running for office, why do we, as average Americans, do it to each other? Like I'm running against Xena for governor? No: it's easier than reponding to what I actually said.

tugboatcapn said...

Bachelor, you didn't say that Republicans or the President put homosexuality on the news, Toad did.

You have stated something that I have said repeatedly on these comment threads. None of us here set policy. This is a video game.

rich bachelor said...

" A video game". I like that.