On Friday's The View, Joy Behar explained why we have free speech and criticized Bush yet again. Law & Order's S. Epatha Merkerson was a guest host and during the "Hot Topics" segment, they discussed the recent revelation that the New York Daily News broke; the relatives of the late Senator and former segregationist, Strom Thurmond (R-SC), owned the ancestors of professional agitator and occasional Presidential candidate, Al Sharpton. They all displayed a strange amount of surprise and fresh outrage and acted ike they were unaware that slavery and segregation had ever existed in America.
They of course portrayed Thurmond as a one-dimensional figurehead for American racism who “filibustered against the civil rights legislation,” while portraying Sharpton as the august and noble civil rights leader that he never was. They rightly decried Thurmond’s shameful past while developing selective amnesia about similar Democratic behavior, but either ignore or forget Sharpton’s shameful past.
Joy led the exploration that the two men could be related
Joy: He was a major segregationist. I mean, he filibustered against the civil rights legislation…
Elizabeth: (interrupting) at the same time that... (pointing to Al Sharpton's picture on screen--meaning sleeping with Sharpton's ancestor)
Joy: (continuing)…for days
Epatha: (echoing Joy) For days.
Well, actually, it was one day, and right behind him was fellow segregationist and former Grand Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan who filibustered the 1964 Civil Rights Act for 14 hours and 13 minutes who would rather “die a thousand times” before desegregating the military, otherwise known as the esteemed senior member of the Democratic Party, Sen. Robert Byrd. I wonder if Byrd is as offensive to the women as Thurmond is, considering he too is filibustered civil rights legislation, in addition to being a former racist and segregationist, not to mention a recruiter and officer for the Klansman.
Joy emphatically stated they didn’t look alike, although I thought there was a resemblance, and began discussing the use of DNA and its accuracy with Epatha
Epatha: …it would be totally fascinating to find out if that is true because this man literally lived his life so black people couldn’t open any doors-- any doors, anywhere.
Joy: (interrupting) Strom Thurmond
Epatha: (continuing a nd nodding)…Strom Thurmond, and just that, you know, here’s Al Sharpton who is the champion for the rights of people…
Joy: (talking over) How ironic
Rosie: (interrupting) …of ALL people
Epatha: (agreeing with Rosie) yes, of all--civil rights that they that he may be somehow connected to this man.
Joy: It’s blowing his mind
Ok, obviously, segregation was just wrong, as was slavery, but of all people, why is Al Sharpton elevated to the level of civil rights royalty; a near-deity whose actions and motives are unimpeachable, not to be questioned--someone who is not accountable as you and I are? Is he worthy of the transfer of Martin Luther King’s mantle of respectability and humanitarianism, considering he was found guilty of defaming one of the defendants in the Tawana Brawley case and is surrounded by serious questions involving money? Aren't there better choices than Sharpton?
Joy then gets the message across that Bush is stupid, while slamming Thurmond at the same time:
Joy: It’s like if I was related to the Bush’s. Although that would explain why I can’t, uh, program my VCR, although that would explain why I can’t program my VCR;I tell you that.
The conversation goes back to Thurmond:
Epatha: But it really is quite fascinating. I’m 54 years old, and I grew up during the civil rights movement. I have seen this man times on television many, many times…
Rosie: (interrupting) making your blood cold
Epatha: …just making it cold. It would be lovely to see him twist around in this one.(twirling her finger in a twisting motion)
Rosie: makes a trilling sound, mimicking something twisting and twirls her finger in the same kind of spinning motion that Epatha used. There is more crosstalk.
It would be great to see Thurmond “twist around in this one”…if he weren’t dead. Being dead, any kind of reaction, much less a twisty one, might be a little difficult for most people to see. I guess all of that “newsy” stuff was why Meredith Viera was on the show.
They talked about the illegitimate daughter that Thurmond had with an African-American woman in 1925, and condemned how Thurmond could have a relationship with a black woman and be a segregationist:
Joy: It’s unbelievable, but you know, that’s why we have free speech--to tell people about these things.
Chorus of voices agreeing: Exactly
Really? I thought we have free speech in America because our Founding Fathers wrote the 1st Amendment guaranteeing all Americans the right to speak freely without government restriction, with few exceptions, such as, yelling “fire” in a crowded theater and libel or slander. Maybe Joy is referring to the unofficial “free speech” that people, especially celebrities, think extends 1st Amendment rights to situations that do not involve the government.
Based on recent events, it’s highly unlikely that the celebrity and liberal version of, “free speech” includes Donald Trump calling Rosie fat, Glenn Beck calling Cindy Sheehan a “tragedy pimp,” or Ann Coulter saying that the four outspoken, strongly anti-Bush, activist 9/11 widows, commonly known as the Jersey Girls, revel in their status as celebrity widows. Joy probably meant the liberal version of free speech where the only speech that qualifies is speech that meets liberal approval.
I have to hand it to Joy. She found a way to redefine free speech and beatify Al Sharpton in the same segment. Now that is efficiency.