Protecting the Mess
Democracy is messy.
Jefferson reportedly told a foreign dignitary visiting the President who was shocked that the President "allowed" newspapers to publish reports that he had a slave mistress: This what "freedom of the press" guarantees - - - the right to criticize one's rulers. 'The truth will out' is what we believe about the free play of competing ideas.
Yes. Freedom of the press is messy but freedom of speech is messier.
Today's Supreme Court heard the case of the father of a Marine killed in the recent war whose funeral was picketed by a church which believes war casualties are God's punishment on Americans for permitting homosexuality to be legal between consenting adults. The picketers carry signs saying "God Hates Fags" and "Thank God for War Dead". They chanted these slogans across the street from the church where the funeral was taking place.
The father of the deceased Marine claims this is a violation of his right to privacy. "It is a FUNERAL, for God's sake," he said on a TV interview this evening on the PBS News Hour.
Just as people have a right ot express their vulgar and ugly opinions across the street from someone's funeral service, so too does a religious organization have the right to build a community center two blocks from the site where 3000 Americans were murdered by terrorists chanting one of the chief invocations of that religion, "Allahu Akbar".
Democracy is messiest when freedoms intersect and clash.
The wildest, toughest and most glorious of weeds, Freedom discovers the mess to be manure: