1st Amendment Victory: FCC Rejects Redskins Objections
If the left wing of this country had their choice of a thousand issues to which to devote all of their efforts and resources – but they could only choose one – I’m not sure they could resist choosing “eliminate offensive speech” as their sole cause.
Nothing gets liberals (and their subset, feminists) more riled up than speech they’ve deemed offensive. And it wouldn’t even be the worst choice, because you can accomplish a lot when you are able to dictate the terms of conversation. When you trot out “trigger warnings,” “rape culture,” “dog whistle racism,” and all the rest, you get to decide exactly what every word means, even if that definition can’t be found in any reputable dictionary. And if you’re steering the conversation, chances are you’ll win the argument.
Thankfully, as of December 2014, we still have freedom of speech in our Constitution. Given enough liberal justices in the Supreme Court, I’m sure the left can eventually get a whole lot of offensive speech stricken from protection, but for now it seems our First Amendment is alive and kicking. The Federal Communications Commission decided Thursday that “Redskins” does not qualify as profane or obscene speech, and therefore they will not pull D.C. radio station WWXX-FM off the air. It may be a small victory in the grand scheme of things, but it is a satisfying one nonetheless.
For the last couple of years, teary-eyed liberals have called on Washington D.C., the NFL, and hard-hearted football fans everywhere to reject the Redskins. Manufacturing offense where none can be found, these liberals have decided that the team name is a mockery of Native Americans, most of whom don’t really give a damn themselves. But speaking for apathetic minorities has become the greatest of all liberal pastimes, and they have taken to this one with vigor.
In their latest attack on freedom – headed up by George Washington University professor John Banzhaf – they asked the FCC not to renew the radio station’s license because they used the team name excessively. The station is owned by Dan Snyder, who also owns the controversial team in question. The FCC wisely rejected the petition, claiming that “if there is to be free speech, it must be free for speech that be abhor and hate as well as for speech that we find tolerable and congenial.”
The Evolving Left
There was a time not that long ago when liberals would have been the last people to challenge speech in this way. Holding the First Amendment to the highest standards was one of their greatest calling cards. Somewhere along the line, though, they’ve realized how much power they can wield if they simply eliminate words and phrases they don’t like. In doing so, they’ve become the kind of fascists they always claimed to hate.
If liberals want to force the Redskins to change their name through boycotts, persuasive arguments, and protests, have at it. That’s the way it should be done. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the name, but they are certainly free to disagree. What they’re not free to do – not yet, anyway – is to change the First Amendment when it suits them. God help America if that ever happens.