We expect better than this from Democrats

“I may not agree with what you say, but I shall defend to my death your right to say it” – Patrick Henry

You may be familiar with that quote, or the one below:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” – The First Amendment to The United States Constitution

These are very basic guiding values in this Country. Free speech – regardless of how popular or unpopular it may be viewed as, not suppressing voices that you don’t agree with. But up in the Fifth Congressional District, at least one Candidate, Adam Gussen, seems to think that “free speech” should be based on an artificial and undefined “filter”.

A bit of backstory for those who aren’t familiar with the Fifth District – as of now, there are three candidates, Gussen (the Deputy Mayor of Teaneck, which is new to the District), Jason Castle, a veteran who did not obtain enough signatures to be put on the Bergen County Democratic ballot, and Diane Sare, a LaRouche Democrat who is running in the primary because the LaRouche Party couldn’t get a separate line on the ballot. But all three are running.

Now, Sare’s views aren’t all that popular with the Democratic establishment, and they may not be all that popular in general – she is calling for the impeachment of Obama but also is looking to restore the Glass-Steagall Act, which has a lot of merit. But I don’t want to discuss her candidacy here, since I don’t know enough about it. I want to discuss the defense of free but objectionable (I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt as objectionable for now regardless of whether it actually is) speech by the Democratic Party – especially those who are running for Federal office.

In the article linked above, it was reported that Gussen said the following about Sare:

“I find the LaRouche platforms and their candidates to be offensive and destructive.

“I think that the Democratic Party, while honoring and giving life to the ideals and concepts of free speech, that there is a reasonable level of filtering that could take place. This is noise that should be filtered out,”

Now, I’m not sure where there is a way to find out exactly where the tipping point is for “reasonable filtering” of free speech. For example, let’s say that Sare is calling for impeachment of Obama, and cites his signing of NDAA, which allowed for the indefinite detainment of US citizens on American soil without trial. Did Gussen think it was ok to call for Bush’s impeachment for that very same thing, but it isn’t ok if it is Obama? What is so destructive and offensive that it can trump the suppression of First Amendment rights – especially by a Congressional Candidate?

Now, this isn’t to say that I am supporting Jason Castle or Diane Sare. But it does set off an alarm that a DEMOCRATIC Congressional Candidate supports the suppression of free speech based on arbitrary adjectives such as “destructive” or “offensive”. Perhaps it is the mere calling for suppression of free speech that is destructive and offensive.

Comments (22)

  1. Hopeful

    I don’t care that this person spoke, and I don’t criticize that decision, but presumably a candidate who is openly running against the Democratic party doesn’t need to be given a platform at a Democratic event. Putting up images around town making Obama out to be a Nazi, as cited in the article would be a perfectly valid reason to not get a speaking slot. The LaRouchites are not Democrats, it’s silly to pretend they have no history, and I applaud Gussen for criticizing them.  

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  2. 12mileseastofTrenton

    it wouldn’t shock me if the LaRouchite won.  It’s happened before.

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  3. Steve M

    The Democratic Party is not a governmental entity and is not bound by the First Amendment.  More to the point, the Democratic Party is inevitably going to be linked with the policy positions advocated by any candidate running under their banner.  If the Democrats don’t want to be associated with certain obnoxious views, they don’t have to be.

    Back in the 1960s there was a lot of angst over Southern Democrats with segregationist stances.  Those people had a right to their opinion, sure.  Doesn’t mean the Democratic Party has a constitutional obligation to contain a segregationist wing.

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  4. SmartyJones

    Fire in a theater.

    There’s a better way to go at her.

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  5. JeffO Teaneck

    I started reading this thread siding with those who see this, basically, as a “branding issue.”

    Regardless of what they call themselves, are LaRouchers really Democrats? If Papst Blue Ribbon starts calling itself Samuel Adams, does the latter brand have any recourse?

    But off course, political parties are not beer brands, and reading on I had to take note of the fact that this LaRoucher did qualify to run in the Democratic primary. (Perhaps more qualifying signatures are needed.) And if she’s a qualified candidate, I guess she’s also qualified to speak at the Democratic county convention.

    But I have to say, I didn’t come to that conclusion naturally. So while I commend the committee chair for his decision, I can’t fault Adam Gussen for his off-the-cuff reaction and poor choice of words.

    There are so many other good reasons not to support his candidacy.

    On the other hand, whom does one support instead? The LaRoucher? The nice black guy who’s running because the party establishment decided a nice Jewish guy with tons of money couldn’t possibly win in Sussex and Warren?

    Once again, thanks Steve Rothman, for abandoning 40% of your constituents…including me.

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  6. rsarkisian

    Does anyone care about issues?  Do any of the “critics” of Diane Sare or LaRouche have ANY familiarity with any of the issues that they propound in depth?  No?  Here is a partial list:

    Glass-Steagall

    economic collapse of US and Europe.

    physical economy vs. paper economy

    the work of Bernard Riemann

    the work of C.F. Gauss

    the work of Alexander Hamilton

    role of empires in world history

    nuclear fusion as a source of virtually unlimited free energy

    matter-anti-matter as the next step beyond nuclear fusion

    how the US prospered as a direct result of FDR’s policies and began to flounder and eventually fail as a result of the policies of every president since.

    We are in a serious crisis and the attitudes I see here are irresponsible at the least and traitorous at the worst.

    Every American has a duty to defend his country.  If you don’t have any ideas, please don’t waste my time.  

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  7. Bertin Lefkovic

    …when they are branded by pictures of President Obama with a Hitler mustache or Joker makeup.  The John Birch Society might have been right to be concerned about the long-term impact of fluoridation of water, but because they were insane racists, anti-semites, and xenophobes at their core, their branding was the Jack T. Ripper character in Dr. Strangelove.

    Reply

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