He’s right, you know…


Laws apply even to those we don’t like

[…] By Leonard Pitts Jr.

Meet Jack McClellan. You might want to shower afterward.

Nobody in the greater Los Angeles area will have to ask what I mean. In the last month or so, McClellan has roiled Southern California by saying in effect: I’m a pedophile, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

The hell of it is, he’s right. You cannot, or in any event, should not, be arrested for what you are, only for what you’ve done. McClellan has done nothing. Or at least, nothing for which he should be prosecuted, there being no law against making people nauseous. […]

Even Jack McClellan enjoys the privileges of the First Amendment. He is free to say he’s a child molester. He’s free to say he’s a Satanist. He’s free to say he’s a racist.

You think it’s terrible that a man can say such things? I agree. Indeed the only thing more terrible would be if we lived in a country where he could not.

I have to take exception to a couple of things here, though.

  • The title of this piece really should be “Even Those We Don’t Like Have Civil Rights”. OK, maybe that’s a bit pedantic. But civil rights arise from the Constitution, not from the laws enacted by Congress. And McClellan’s basic civil rights were breached.
  • “You cannot, or in any event, should not, be arrested for what you are …” – Leave out the qualifying phrase. “You cannot” is sufficient. No I am not talking as an editor here. As phrased, Pitts expresses lack of belief in what he says. I understand that in “The Real World” people do get arrested for what they are. This must stop, and we need to forcefully reject it every time we see it.
  • Pitts is showing his prejudices with that Satanist comment. A Satanist is not abhorrent, and certainly should is not in the same category as a self professed pedophile.

To be entirely clear, I find McClellan nauseating. Still,

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. [S. G. Tallentyre]

Too many of our basic rights have already been taken from us. This country is becoming more fascist daily. This must not be allowed to continue. Allow me, if you will,to close with just one more quote?

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.
Pastor Martin Niemöller

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About Janet Logan

Well educated woman, transgender / transsexual, lesbian, Reiki practitioner, LGBT activist, polyamorous, and eclectic Pagan.
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