First amendment does not cover stupid

As a journalist and more importantly a citizen, the first amendment to the United States Constitution is just about the greatest thing I think this country has.

It affords me the right to say just about anything, anywhere I want to. Provided I don’t yell “FIRE” in a crowded movie theater or say, “You know, I am really starting to like the state of Ohio” anywhere in the state of Michigan.

Yet, while I cherish this right and recognize just how important it is to our society, there are tons of very smart and influential people out there who seem to think that the first amendment is an excuse to spout off stupidity.

Let’s take the example of legendary rocker and Michigan native Ted Nugent. I know disparaging the name of “The Motor City Madman” in Northern Michigan might be considered heresy, but the man has gone too far.

Speaking before the National Riffle Association a few weeks back in St. Louis, the ultra-conservative said this.

“If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

I am sorry, but freedom of speech or not, that is the type of thing you do not say about anybody, whether it’s the president of the United States or your local baker or garbage man.

While I may not agree with President Obama on most of his policies, I do respect the office that he holds and that he is at least doing the toughest job on the planet the best he sees fit.

It may not be the way I would like the country ran, but any reasonable person can discern that President Obama is not trying to harm this country on purpose.

Plus, maybe I am just old-fashioned but I do believe that you should respect the president, if not the man occupying the Oval Office but then the office itself.

It is the same thing I would try to tell the people who would call George W. Bush a “Nazi” and a “war monger.”

Free speech is one thing, making not so thinly-veiled death threats at a person is another. Can you imagine if say Michael Moore or Keith Olbermann had use the exact same words when talking about Nugent, or Rush Limbaugh, or Mitt Romney, or Glenn Beck?

Not to mention, President Obama is a husband and a father and his school-aged daughters should not have to go to school and hear whispers about somebody saying they are going to kill their dad.

The conservative world got in a rage when a Democratic strategist with loose ties to the Obama re-election campaign made a quip that Ann Romney, wife of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, had never had a “real job,” (and just ask any mother if having one child, yet alone five boys is a day off), yet Nugent, who has publicly endorsed and campaigned with Mitt Romney, says he is going to attempt to harm or kill the President Obama, not the same outrage.

Politics should not be taken this seriously. It is this kind of speech that when heard by those with mental issues, tragedies occur.

Like the shooting of former Democratic Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords by Jared Lee Loughner.

Giffords had been featured in advertisement by a political action committee run by Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, which had her targeted for defeat in the 2010 mid-term elections where a bulls-eye was placed over her name.

Loughner, who has battled mental issues in the past and had been stalking Giffords for years, allegedly shot Giffords in the head in a massive shooting spree that left six dead and 18 others injured.

It was a miracle that Giffords survived the rampage and faces years of tough physical therapy and forced her to resign her seat in Congress and derailed a political career that seemed destined for the United States Senate.

Simply put, it is time for words like this to stop before more end up dead and before the government decides maybe we cannot be trusted with our freedom of speech anymore.

And that folks, is the true nightmare.