“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”-Justice Brennan
What is so interesting to me about the outrageous, controversial editorials that come out every once in a while is how people react to them. Letters to the editor pour in and people express disgust, sometimes even call in threats.
Seeing an idea you despise being expressed calls fourth anger, shock, determination, hopelessness…at least in me. It’s an ugly experience to see something you disagree with in print or on the TV and it’s an ugly feeling to feel that anger. I don’t think people are proud of the way they react to this news but I think they see it as defensive.
Some would say that’s the beauty of the first amendment and I agree with that. But to call something so ugly, so hate-filled, so passionate and violence-inciting beautiful is cause for reflection at the same time.
The only way I can think to explain it is that everyone is hoping this violence and chaos of opinions will pass. That this riotous back and fourth is necessary to get to the ideal state we’re all searching for. It’s difficult to express your honest opinion in this time of personal PR and professionalism. I’m surprised still that Walter Cronkite crossed that line and I’m unsure how I feel about it.