Leftist Rocker John Mellencamp: First Amendment More of a 'Collective' Thing

<p><img src="http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/files/2009/07/18358395-18358398-slarge... alt="John Mellencamp, photo via BigHollywood.Breitbart.com | NewsBusters.org" vspace="3" width="194" align="right" border="0" height="194" hspace="3" />You know, liberals should be celebrating. Their man, The Won, is in the White House. They have control of both the House and the Senate, and legislation such as cap and trade and nationalized health care may well become reality - European socialism without having to leave the comfort of home. The Brave New World is on the way. Rejoice in mediocrity for all!</p><p>So why are they so grumpy? I suppose it’s because the idea that anyone might stray from the reservation is anathema to them, and this little thing in our Constitution called the First Amendment kind of gets in the way of collective happiness and singing Kumbaya around the campfire.</p> <p>John “Cougar” Mellencamp is the latest to notice that not everyone is part of the collective, <a href="http://blog.cmt.com/2009-07-07/how-john-mellencamp-interprets-freedom-of... target="_blank">and he’s mighty peeved</a>, making this observation <a href="http://perfunction.typepad.com/perfunction/2009/07/john-mellencamp-no-fr... free speech </a>in general and bloggers in particular:</p> <blockquote><!--break--><p>“I don’t think people fought and gave their lives so that some guy can sit in his bedroom and be mean. I don’t think that’s what freedom of speech is,” he continued. “Freedom of speech is really about assembly — for us to collectively have an idea. We want to get our point of view out so we can assemble and I can appoint you to be the spokesman. That’s freedom of speech — to be able to collectively speak for a sector of people. But somehow it’s turned into ‘I can be an a****** whenever I feel like, say whatever I like, be disrespectful to people and not be courteous.’ It’s not good for our society. Not being courteous is not really freedom of speech. …</p></blockquote> <p>Geez, send this guy back to civics class.</p> <p>The First Amendment pretty much means what it says when it comes to political speech: as long as it’s not libel or slander, you can say whatever you want. If you come across as a mean jerk, others can point it out, thus exercising their free speech rights. It’s not hard to figure out, except for liberal Statists who don’t really believe in the First Amendment.</p> <p>That said, I agree with Mellencamp - to a point. I believe discourse in this society has sunk to a new low, and honest debate is often replaced by name calling and angry diatribes not meant to enlighten the other side to your point of view, but to shut debate down by shutting the other side up. However, while I don’t think our Founders ever envisioned the Internet with its pluses (i.e. spreading information at lightning speed around the world) and its minuses (i.e. the anonymity factor that emboldens some to say things they wouldn’t say to one’s face), I doubt they would agree with Mellencamp’s assessment of free speech. We “collectively” have an idea and appoint a spokesman? Well what about those of us who aren’t part of the collective, John? If we don’t subscribe to the current fashion of groupthink, do we not have recourse? Are we not allowed to speak out?</p> <p>For some, blogging is their only way of making their voices heard. Not everyone has million dollar recording contracts that suddenly make their political opinions worth seeking out by reporters bedazzled by someone who plays a guitar and sings.</p> <p>And who, pray-tell, decides what kind of speech is “nice” speech and what is “hate” speech? Perhaps Obama will appoint a Speech Czar to add to his ever-growing collection of direct reports who get to circumvent Congress, in a power grab <a href="http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/19339.html" target="_blank">noted</a> even by die-hard Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd.</p> <p>This transformation in thinking on Mellencamp’s part is nothing short of miraculous. He must be regretting <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,125141,00.html" target="_blank">this little outburst</a> at a John Kerry fundraiser during the 2004 presidential campaign, right?</p> <blockquote><p>Other celebs also competed to bash Bush. Singer John Mellencamp sang a specially written song that called the president “just another cheap thug” and ridiculed him as the “Texas bambino.”</p></blockquote> <p>Perhaps that can be attributed to “artistic expression,” an excuse entertainers and artists often use when some find their content objectionable. The unenlightened bottom feeders “just don’t get it.”</p> <p>Well, we get it, John. We understand that now that your man (well, your <a href="http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2007/11/edwards-visits-.html" target="_blank">second choice</a>) is in the Oval Office, and suddenly it’s unseemly to make fun of him or - even worse - disagree with him. I hear it on talk radio shows all the time: liberals call in and tell the host to stop criticizing Obama, that we must all get behind the president and support him.</p> <p>Remember Hillary in 2003?</p> <blockquote><p>I am sick and tired of people who call you unpatriotic if you debate this administration’s policies. We are Americans and have the right to participate and debate any administration.</p></blockquote> <p>Times have changed, people. We must heed the collective. We must appoint a spokesman. I wonder who John has in mind?</p> <p>But don’t listen to me. John Mellencamp probably thinks I’m an a****** too.</p><p><i>Originally published July 10 at Andrew Breitbart's <a href="http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/pmeister/2009/07/10/no-room-in-mellenc... target="_blank">Big Hollywood blog</a>. </i></p>