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Teen’s Political Tweet Sparks Free Speech Discussion

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Teen’s Political Tweet Sparks Free Speech Discussion
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A Kansas teen who was asked to apologize for a politically charged tweet has made a stand of sorts, and hopes her tweet will do something even larger for free speech in social media.

Last week, 18-year-old Emma Sullivan was attending a youth in government conference with her fellow classmates at a Topeka high school when she submitted the tweet that would draw the ire of government and school officials and gain her a few thousand new followers.

At what point do you think it is reasonable to limit speech on social media? Let us know in the comments.

As Kansas Governor and former U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R) was speaking at the conference, Sullivan decided to tweet this during the address:

Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot(image) 6 days ago via txt · powered by @socialditto

Apparently, Sullivan didn’t actually say anything to the Governor, and was really just joking around with her friends.

While the tweet might not be the most eloquent expression of political frustration, it’s pretty innocuous. But it was enough to catch the attention of the Governor’s office, who spotted the tweet in question during routine social media monitoring.

Presumably a tad perturbed, Brownback’s people contacted Sullivan’s high school principal. Sullivan was then asked to apologize for her tweet, and according to Politico, the principal even instructed her to use certain talking points in the apology letter.

Sullivan refused the request to apologize, tweeting this late Sunday:

I’ve decided not to write the letter but I hope this opens the door for average citizens to voice their opinion & to be heard! #goingstrong(image) 14 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

“I don’t think I should write the letter, and I don’t think it would be the best move for me,” she said. “At this time, I do not think an apology would be a sincere thing for me to do.”

She also said that she would do it again.

Why does she think Governor Brownback blows a lot anyways? Apparently, she disapproves of his decision to get rid of the entire Kansas Arts Commission budget.

Some Twitter users have jumped on the #heblowsalot hashtag to express their disappointment of Brownback and other officials involved:

If Santorum is a noun, let’s make Brownback a verb: “to whine, complain and demand apology when your feelings get hurt” #Heblowsalot #p2(image) 1 day ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Gov. Brownback’s office tattled on a high school girl who tweeted “#heblowsalot.” I’m tattling on them for being a colossal Brownback.(image) 1 hour ago via web · powered by @socialditto

Retweet if you think Gov Brownback owes Emma Sullivan an apology, for violating her 1st Amendment rights… #heblowsalot(image) 15 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

So, is young miss Sullivan taking a stand to become a model of free speech in social media? Before her semi-political tweet, her Twitter feed was mostly crowded with Justin Bieber and Twilight. But her refusal to apologize has gained her a whole new following, as she has gained a few thousand followers in just a few days.

Let’s face it: her tweet regarding Governor Brownback doesn’t exactly amount to astute political commentary. I mean, she did use the hashtag #heblowsalot. But Sullivan’s lack of eloquence is really beside the point. That point being – why did Governor Brownback’s team get their panties in a wad over this tweet?

Sure, social media monitoring can be a useful tool for someone in office. It allows them to gauge public sentiment on a variety of issues and also receive live feedback on decisions they make that affect their constituents.

But contacting a girl’s school to complain about a critical tweet is not the type of monitoring that politicians should be engaged in. Do these people really have nothing better to do than troll Twitter looking for dissenting viewpoints….from high schoolers? Come on guys, thicken up the skin a little bit.

Honestly, there is no room in a free society for the mere suggestion that someone should apologize for expressing their opinions on social media. There are situations where free speech on social media sites might not cover certain content. Take for example the head of the College Republicans at UT Austin, who made headlines when she tweeted, “Y’all as tempting as it may be, don’t shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we’ve EVER had! #2012.”

Sure, that’s in poor taste. But even with a tweet like that, there is a debate as to whether or not that speech is dangerous enough to warrant restriction.

But there is one thing I am sure of, no debate necessary: the hashtag #heblowsalot does not deserve a governmental reprimand and it sure as hell doesn’t warrant an apology letter.

Late Monday, Governor Brownback and his team came to their senses and apologized to the student, saying that his staff overreacted and emphasizing that he cares greatly for freedom of speech. Here’s the statement, which he posted as a note on Facebook:

“My staff over-reacted to this tweet, and for that I apologize. Freedom of speech is among our most treasured freedoms. I enjoyed speaking to the more than 100 students who participated in the Youth in Government Program at the Kansas Capitol. They are our future. I also want to thank the thousands of Kansas educators who remind us daily of our liberties, as well as the values of civility and decorum. Again, I apologize for our over-reaction.”

The school district also weighed in on Monday, saying that Sullivan did not have to apologize for her tweet.

What do you think about the Governor’s actions? Is there any situation where an elected official should scold a constituent for a disparaging tweet? Did the school have a right to initially demand an apology from Sullivan? Or do you think that all of this is a ridiculous misuse of authority? Let us know in the comments.

Teen’s Political Tweet Sparks Free Speech Discussion
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  • http://blog.sysomos.com 40deuce

    This story just blows me away. Thankfully not all politicians react this way. In Toronto, where I’m from, there’s major Titter backlash to everything our current mayor does (some warranted, some not). He’s need a staff of hundreds just to find people’s principals and employers to make those please apologize phone calls.
    The beauty of social media is that people can say what they like and have the chance to be heard by millions.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

  • http://cargocollective.com/darinwhite Darin

    I live in Kansas, and also am very disturbed by Gov. Brownback’s decision to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission. Many thousands of people have made it clear that not only does the public not approve of this, but they want to repeal this decision. Yes, the government should be protecting, upholding and advocating art and culture as well as of course free speech. This is as much of its job as any other aspect of government. May I suggest that Gov. Brownback’s office approval would be higher and would be much better for the people of Kansas if they were protecting these rights, rather than trying to protect themselves from negative comments.

  • DrJLD

    Freedom of speech in our Constitution is accompanuied by a responsibility to say what one wishes without hurting other people unnecessarily. All our rights are accompanied by responsibilities that make our society work smoothly.

    Rudeness is the bane of two and a half merican generations. Be rude to them, however, and you have a ‘fit’on your hands.

    She doesn’t need to apologize for the fact that she disagrees with her Governor. She does need, for her own sake, to apologize for being rude.

    Freedom of speech is not a license to insulot and hurt other people. Unfortunately, the great unwashed do not understand this, were never raised to be polite, and never took a civics course in what the constitution and our rights mean in practice.

    • http://www.infowars.com Evelyn Beatrice Hall

      Elected officials don’t follow the Constitution, why should we expect them to recognize when someone is exercising their rights. Elected officials have the right to scold for any comment, their rights are the same as their constituents. However, the constituents should recognize this and vote them out for not knowing the oath they swore themselves to.

      “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” ~ Evelyn Beatrice Hall

    • http://kevincole509.com Kevin Cole

      Tell me where they CAN take a civics course anymore and I’d be obliged. Tell me who is actually training young ones to recognize any of this and I’d be surprised. Certainly not most parents (they don’t have the time or interest). Not public schools (they’re busy trying to achieve “desirable” citizenry by propaganda). And can we really expect the young ones to know what apparently no one in my generation (51 years old) has bothered to tell them, let alone model?

      The frustrating truth is that as a society, we largely get what we deserve and it has come to this pass…

    • Me

      Dr J,

      Not sure what planet you are from … but insults, both clever an crude, have been, and shall always be a part of political systems.

      Right Wing Wackos like Brownback should scare the hell out of thinking people. Since the passage of the Patriot Act our Constitutional Rights have steadily been eroded.

      If you are a 20 year old today, by the time you are 50 I suspect the Pledge of Allegiance will go something like …

      I pledge Allegiance to Exxon Mobil, and the multinational corporate federation , whose profits protect me from those with free thought, under the one true Christian God, with liberty and justice for the affluent, Amen.

  • http://docsheldon.com Doc Sheldon

    Brownback’s staff gave Emma’s Tweet the fuel to trend… they have nobody to blame for that but themselves. Certainly, it was poor reputation management and ill-advised, particularly from a political figure.

    I think a much better response on Brownback’s part would have been a letter to Emma, expressing his dismay that (a)she had claimed a non-existent direct communication & (b)she had done so without consideration of the negative repercussions to others (although she may well have considered that).

  • Brian

    I think the most frightening part in all of this has to be money. Our government is apparently spending our money to scold a teenager for expressing her disapproval of how they are spending our money! Am I the only one who finds the irony in that?

  • Jerry Kelly

    Time for her school to apologize, too.

  • Darren L

    What the hell, Brownback. Why this right-wing need to exercise thought-control over a teenager. Stupid Republicans.

    • nate

      hardly a GOP thing, you liberals do this every bit as much as Republicans… the police state is being created where we can’t speak out against our government, own guns or anything else that the political elite deem to be inappropriate.

      • Me

        Hey Nate,

        Republicans passed the Patriot Act dude. Under the Patriot Act, if you are SUSPECTED of terrorism, Homeland Security can arrest you, ship you off to Guantanamo WITHOUT A TRIAL ….

        Thank you GOP.

  • http://a-y-b.com Cathy Q

    Hello,
    thank you for this article. I think that this is a case of much ado about nothing. If the governor cannot take this sort of criticism he should not even be in office.

  • Chris

    The government is trying to take all our rights away and the first and second amendments are the ones the commies in charge want to start with.

  • Walker Bennett

    The governor’s apology is a start. So is the school district’s. Personally, it looks like government was testing the waters to see how far they could censor the student’s remarks and the Internet. There is nothing short of a direct threat to the President that is not covered by the First Amendment.

  • http://www.NaturalDogTraining.INFO Paul Anderson

    This smacks of mind police, telling us what opinions we may and may not hold. If they want people to think well of them, they must get on with deserving it.

    • http://sotsmusic.com Sally Dee

      Amen!

  • Tod

    The whole situation smells of the abomination known as being “Politically Correct.” She does not need to apologize for her comment or her feelings about the Arts. Please allow me to throw in my two cents. Governor Brownback needs to grow a pair (as well as everyone else who is for being “Politically Correct”) and quit being such a whiner. As a Government Employee who works with the public daily I am subjected to much worse than what was said to him and I don’t cry about it.

  • phil

    why should this even be up for discussion? is this the new China or something? brownback should be the one apologising for infringing on a person’s Constitutional rights…and for his being a total dickhead.

    • http://www.ientry.com/ Josh Wolford

      Yeah, he eventually did apologize – but for many I’m sure it doesn’t change anything. The fact that he even tried to use the school to reprimand the teen for her tweet is appalling enough.

  • http://howtogetridofacnespots.com/poppingpimples.html John

    Control, control, control.
    monitoring everything, listening, controlling. Is this the american way? Call 911 for everything?

  • http://republicaninthearts.blogspot.com Incognito

    I’m a registered Republican, but I also happen to be in the arts, and I am a staunch defender of freedom of speech. The girl owes no-one an apology. In this country, we all have the right to criticize someone, as long as we do not incite violence against them.

  • http://sotsmusic.com Sally Dee

    Hasn’t anyone noticed the outrageousness of the actions of the principal of the high school to tell this student to write an apology letter and even go so far as to tell her what to put in it? I’m curious what the principal’s response will be to her refusal to do so. It is just so disgusting to me that public school administrators think they have the right and the authority to command students like that.

    • Keven

      I hope the public comes down hard on both the governor’s office AND the principle…they should be made examples of what happens when you mess with constitutional rights…
      …To the people advocating for the Governor & Principle: both of them have executive power that would’ve held against any “orders” they had…so I don’t buy it… The principle should be fired & the governor should be reprimanded by the state…

  • http://kevincole509.com Kevin Cole

    It’s manifestly obvious that the Governor is trusting the WRONG people with his public relations. He needs to fire some people – FAST. I doubt that he personally made the decisions involved in this, but whoever DID make the decisions needs to be on the unemployment line immediately so that no one else in Kansas feels as though their government thinks it can pull that kind of arrogant garbage on anyone of any age.

    The other thing that is profoundly obvious is that the school district involved is run by political tools. THEY should’ve been the first ones to stand up to the Governor’s office on principle. They didn’t. They are obviously just one more wannabe King (or Queen) its own personal hill, looking out first for its financial interests. If they can’t handle pressure from politicians, they need to quit the job and let people of principle take up the position.

    I’d say the school district came out of this looking worse than the Governor, though it’s a close race…

    • http://sotsmusic.com Sally Dee

      Aptly put!!! Totally agree!!! What bothers me is that a bunch of parents of students at that high school will actually think the principal did the right thing and that Emma Kate should do as told and write her apology letter.

  • Bob

    If I were the Gov I would be replacing a staff person today. That is pretty poor representation from his team….They should know better but they don’t.

  • jordan

    If we do not fight Washington for our Rights they will obviously trample on them.SOPA/PIPA will only be the beginning.Our Freedom is now at stake.
    I call for a March On Washington 2012.We need to give them a New Year’s Present.The Current Government has the lowest approval rating in our Country’s History.
    I now hate Washington more than ever before !
    I am 55 years old and started to go to Protests in 1969.Even during the Vietnam War times when I disliked what we were doing I still did not hate the Establishment as much as I do now.

  • kevin werner

    I am glad she stood up for her rights. There are alot of people these days willing to give up their freedom of speech so easily to the government because they are afraid or are to worried of offending someone.I believe in free speech as long as no one organizes or threatens to do bodily harm.

  • http://www.jacksononthemoon.com Sharon J

    This is just silly. How thin skinned is the man? I sit on my local town council and if I demanded an apology every time someone said I was a jerk, I would never have time to sleep. You are correct that her comment was not politically astute, but so what? His staff and her principal should have ignored it. Tempest in a Teapot.

  • http://www.bestmlmnetworkmarketingtips.com Best MLM Network Marketing

    This is not as bad as the incident in the state of Washington where a grade school child posted something very harmless on his Face Book page and was visited by a gestapo agent of one of the alphabet agencies. You can do a search on Google and find out what that was, but it was even more harmless than what this article is about and it all demonstrates that we are all headed down a slippery slope and could lose our freedoms if we allow this kind of assault on freedom to continue.

  • http://www.myjunglehut.com Chris

    Forgive my intrusion. I am english. I would like to know how your governer would react to posts made on yahoo forums by us brits.

    When in public office, no matter who you are, you open yourself to criticism which is often very blunt and to the point. I admire that young ladies courage and stance.

    • http://www.myjunglehut.com Chris

      I forgot to add. I encourage free speech, and especially so on my new website. PROVIDING IT WAS TOTALLY JUSTIFIED!!!

  • Gary Tucker

    Free speech is just that-free speech. Who cares what a dumb high school kid says? She, or any other high school or college student, is not in the real world yet anyway. Who cares what they think. Wait till they’re out trying to make a living and paying taxes, then reality will sink in and their whole outlook will change…just like it does with everyone else.

  • Gnat

    Some idiot high schooler’s illiterate and irrelevant comment, since she supposedly does not pay taxes or vote, got over-reacted to. Just proves social media attracts it’s fair share of buffoon, both high schoolers and politicians.

  • Dan

    Tweets are more like shouts that media comments. When you yell at someone, you are engaging in bad manners and borish behavior. Yes, she should be sorry for being a loud mouth kid. She needs to grow up. Of course, most of what passes for discussion on the internet can be described that same way.

    • http://www.ientry.com/ Josh Wolford

      Like I said, her tweet doesn’t fall into the “eloquent” category – but it seems to me that a 55-year-old elected official that tries to drag a meaningless apology out of an 18-year-old girl for using a certain hashtag is the one that probably needs to grow up.

      • Anne

        Absolutely the governor and his staffers need to grow up. If I were Emma’s mother, first I would chastise her for being so rude as to bring her phone into a presentation and be tweeting during it. But, the second thing I would do is tell the school principal just what I thought of his attempt to tell my daughter she “had” to apologize for her commentary and to tell her what to say, no less. Then I would staunchly defend her right to say what she did–and would ask the question of the governor’s office, “This is what the taxpayers of Kansas are paying you all for?”

  • Rudy Adams

    One thing everyone has missed is the tremendous following that this young lady acquired with her tweet. Votes are everything to these politicians. Sure they apoligized when they saw such a large following of this girl. I commend her for standing up for her rights however if there had not been such a large following, do you think the Governor would have apoligized? I don’t think so.

  • SoWhat

    If she doesn’t have the guts to actually stand up and confront the governor, why should we have any respect for her all for sending out a false tweet. First, get in the gov’s face, then leave the room. Real people don’t need to share every time they blow their nose.

  • http://yvonnefinn.com Yvonne Finn

    Of course this is an abuse or attempted abuse of authority!
    Seems that our elected servants forget that that is just what they are.
    Nothing more, nothing less!

    They should see the general public as their employers, but that has long since been forgotten and we let it happen.
    Kudos to Ms.Sullivan, we should thank her for this reminder that we still live in time when we can use our own minds.
    Yvonne Finn

  • http://www.celticcrosseng.com David T. McKee

    I see this in a whole different light. Look at this whole thing with Machiavellian Eyeglasses and what you will see here is a cleverly disguised “lever”.

    The lever is not the tweet that Emma sent either – it was the “reaction” of Brownback’s staff. By the staff member actually calling the school to complain about the tweet, Brownback now looks like a buffoon. So, all you need to do to discredit an opponent is to pose as “staff” and then “over-react” in a manner similar to this.

    Viola! you have now pulled the lever, and at the same time, covered your tracks.

    -DTM

  • lawrence e simms

    Don’t back down 61 viet nam vet That why so many women and men died on foreign soil so you could voice free speech.

  • Bob Wagner

    Everyone has the right to be rude and fabricate tweets that didn’t actually happen and the Governor also had the right to ask what he did. Both allowed their emotions to drive their actions affecting their character. Hopefully they have learned to think before they speak, write letters or tweet.

  • mdsabes

    So this ia a free speach issue. Tthe fact that we have social media sites obviously means that we can say whatever we want without taking responsibility for what we say. That is obviously how our social media generation interpet free speech. After all it is athe same generation that embraces “file shareing” if you could tranfer or copy something digitally it isnt stealling right? Ms Sullivans tweet was a complete lie. No one is trying shut down her twitter account or her internet acess or her right to free speech. The way I see it she was asked to be a big girl and take responsibility for the lie she told.

  • Fozzy

    This whole discussion topic is stupid.

    Facts:

    A) The girl lied on twitter about being rude to a government official.
    B) Brownbacks office notified the school of her conduct at a school sponsored event.
    C) Girls school asks for an apology.

    That’s all there is about it.

    This has nothing to do about Freedom of Speech or 1st Amendment Rights. Also, “Freedom of Speech” is also the most over-used and miss-understood right we have right now. Even I was kind of surprised at what the constitution actually says about it. (hint: It’s not the unequivocal free pass to say whatever you want without repercussions)

    I’m surprised that more people are stating how this girl was wrong to lie in the first place. She claims she was making some sort of activist stand on a political issue but never really did.

    That’s a bigger deal than anything else, imho.

    As for the governs office reporting the tweet to the school? So what. Is their right to report the conduct of a student against the law or moral code? No, I didn’t think so. So why are so many people acting butt hurt about it?

    This girl was on a school sponsored event. Their conduct as such an event is and always has been important. Actually doing something like yelling out mild insults at the governor or whoever is not appropriate conduct that can have repercussions.

    However, since the girl never actually did it, she’s guilty of lying about her rude conduct at a school event, which is still a behavior reprimand.

    Long story short, the governor’s office didn’t do anything wrong. The girl did everything wrong. And all I hear is bull about 1st Amendment rights? Lolz.

    We could talk all day about why the gov. office even cares to respond to such a tweet, but what does that matter? They did. It’s not wrong. It is perhaps extreme. But it’s about as important as what the girl said in the first place.

    Worse is the reaction I’m seeing from people. It just leads me to believe how much of American society “sucks, in person”.

    • Anne

      For God’s sake, this is a TEENAGER we’re talking about. Ok, fine, it was silly for her to make up something and tweet it. Not such a great thing to do–but it was a JOKE. I personally don’t think the school should have allowed students to carry their phones into a presentation. But, really, that’s another issue.

      She’s a teen and was acting like a teen. The governor’s office acted like teens, too, which is so unbecoming. “Yah, nah, nah, nah–you tweeted a lie and now you hafta apologize.” To say nothing of the waste of time and effort for them to pursue this. Maybe they should actually be doing something to fix the problems that states are facing these days. What a stupid thing to fixate on.

    • http://www.savandeal.com Douglas

      I don’t see what the girl did wrong. She wrote a tweet. she didn’t disrupt the event, she didn’t hold up a big banner or throw eggs. All she did was write a note to her friends. I realize now-a-days notes are seen by more people,but it is still a note. The problem is that the gov. office went looking at all the “notes” written about them and when they found one they didn’t like they had no problem asking for an apology. What freedoms would you give up for security? The right answer is none.

  • http://www.psychicpriestesskandiranson.info Priestess Kandi Ranson

    Gov. Brownback should have APOLOGIZED for his

    What is wrong with this guy? If not for the creativity of art what kind of world would we live in?

    • http://www.psychicpriestesskandiranson.info Priestess Kandi Ranson

      That was supposed to read:
      Gov. Brownback should have APOLOGIZED for his decision to abolish the Kansas Arts Commission!

      What is wrong with this guy? If not for the creativity of art what kind of world would we live in?

      • http://www.databaseapplications.com.au Chris

        Without art there would be less drug use, fewer sexual deviants, fewer people pursuing a career option with an extremely low probability of them making it, less young women ending up in prostitution after not making it in the film world – the list goes on. Ask yourself, what would the world be like without technology. No electricity, no cars, no mass produced clothes – the list goes on. It’s a pity technology doesn’t get all the publicity and government grants arts get.

  • Anne

    This is so ridiculous. A gubernatorial staff member actually wasted the time to track down this girl’s school and demand an apology? THIS is what the taxpayer’s of Kansas are paying for? And the school kowtowed to this? Haven’t any of them got a backbone? Maybe Brownback should apologize to the citizens of Kansas for eliminating the Arts Commission budget. Contrary to the opinion of these political crazies, the arts and culture are important pieces of society, and contribute to a thinking, reasoning populace. Brownback and his staffers could use a lot of that reasoning and thinking.

  • BobOH

    There is no problem with or limits to expressing free speech, in the US, on the internet. To tweet a lie while representing a school sponsored Youth in Government group is inappropriate. There was no question about freedom of expression before the little girl tweeted, so how has she helped anything? She needs to grow up and allowing her school to help her is advisable.

    • http://www.savandeal.com Douglas

      wake up! I think you are still dreaming.

  • Bill

    What a silly mess the Gov’s staff created! With all the problems that our communities are having, this is what they chose to focus on. An 18 year student they figured they could brow-beat! They should be ashamed of themselves. And that principal – what a spineless jerk! Even if I disagree with the young woman’s statement, I support her 100%. Props to her for standing up to the establishment and refusing to apologize, when no apology from her was warranted. She’s entitled to her opinion, and it certainly did not warrant the type of attention it received. It does call into question where our “leaders” head’s are. Talk about being out of touch with reality!

  • http://www.laymanwebdesign.com Obdurate

    Abuse of authority? Politicians have no authority in a Republic. We’re all supposed to be adhering to the rule of law and that’s the difference between a Republic and a Democracy. Which, by the way, I’m pretty fed up with everyone (especially our elected officials) calling the US Government a Democracy – it’s not.

  • http://www.howtoseegod.org Tommy Hawksblood

    It is time for people to wake up and take the freedom that we have and use it. Really do you think the Gov will lets us? They have stopped much truth from us already. We can wish we had freedom but that is what it is turning into. Wishfull thinking.

    You can only say what they allow you to say.
    Lets go after children for speaking their truth. What kind of sick country are we living in? Just ask the Native people.

  • http://www.robZtv.com robZ

    This is a little off the main point, but I found this pretty disturbing:

    “Take for example the head of the College Republicans at UT Austin, who made headlines when she tweeted, ‘Y’all as tempting as it may be, don’t shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we’ve EVER had! #2012.’”

    It’s pretty fashionable to say there is no difference between the two big political parties, but there does seem to be at least one key difference between left/liberal/Dems and right/conservative/Reps: those on the right think it normal to invoke the threat of violence as part of their political rhetoric–from Sarah Palin’s “reload” gunsights (which, among others, targeted AZ rep Giffords, later actually shot), to TEA partiers carrying guns at rallies to intimidate electeds (specifically Obama), to College Republicans joshing about how tempting it is to kill the president (above quote).

    Thought becomes speech and speech becomes action. Invite violence and it will come running. People get what they ask for, only not on their terms–the old devil’s bargain, nowadays called blowback.

    Threats and insults don’t qualify as discourse–they’re both tactics used to end meaningful dialogue and are essentially anti-democratic.

    Practice empathy. As MLK said, “When hate fights hate, hate wins.”

  • http://www.CaptainCyberzone.com CaptainCyberzone

    Censored free speech is no longer “free speech”.
    Keep speech free but pay attention to the mental maturity and IQ of the speaker and judge the words based on that.
    And whomever owns the “mega-phone” gets to set the rules and filter. So, if you don’t like the speech take issue with the “mega-phone” owner (who might listen or tell you to freely “shove-it”!).

  • http://www.belfast-architects.co.uk Alan

    The Governor and his staff should have had the sense to ignore. The fact that they didn’t makes one question their judgement and ability. Utterly stupid and a puerile waste of time.

  • http://www.savandeal.com Douglas

    It is a ridiculous misuse of authority, but in a world where the government watches your every move and constantly takes your rights away in the name of security, It is fast becoming the norm. I only hope there are a lot more students like here. It gives us hope. I don’t care what she said, she should be able to say it without fear of prosecution.(sound familiar?)

  • Jon Heil

    Yup thats why state and government jobs, what a joke. Typical clowns. That’s why the media is too much into that and people act like sheep. I don’t follow or listen to the news, just a bunch of crap, if I want to listen to that, I’d just fart. Typical governments who have too much time on their hands and argue over stupid things and just waste tax payer money.

  • Pete Dashwood

    This is a perfect example of the US going crazy and forgetting about personal responsibility. A society where everyone is looking for a chance to sue someone for some real or imagined fault, there are more Lawyers per head of population than any other nation on earth and people don’t have to think about their actions because they simply get the best lawyer instead. You can get away with murder and the World has seen it. It starts with stupid nonsense like this. Of course people should be able to Tweet whatever they want to. If people were taught to think for themselves they would come to terms with what was said in a completely different way. Racial incitement, sedition, and any other verbal sewage would be dismissed by an informed, intelligent, thinking population, without the need to call a dream team of lawyers, and/or seek to prohibit people saying what they think. It is encouraging to see a young a lady who won’t apologise unless she feels sorry. Maybe the hope is in the young…

  • Claire

    Really? The principal did not have the gumption to tell the Gov’s office to go fly a kite? Sounds like he is not any better let alone the school board that had to meet to let her know she did not need to apologize?
    She is the legal age to join the military and go kill another human being but she is asked to make an apology for a tweet? She is entitled to her opinion regardless of whether or not we agree with her. I for one applaud her. She is present and has the sense of mind to speak up for something that she sees as not being correct. Good for her. We need more teens like her and maybe we can put all these old politicians and their out of touch sensibilities out to pasture.

  • http://www.kee2success.com Aloha – Lani

    I think the next time a politician heads over to a public school he or she may request to turn off all phones. sorta like being on the airplane. Although people are looking for more attention then they need, but the media hypes it more by doing exactly what they expect.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they ban interaction on social media sites, if it appears profound or frivolous comments toward politicians. And we as the public should be respectful. Glad I came by.

  • Ryan

    Why is this news?
    Regardless of our politicians’ lack of Constitutional understanding and delusions of grandeur, Free speech is a protected right in this country. At least it was until we became a police/nanny state.

  • Lovinia

    Rights aside, the girl said she spoke in person when in fact the didn’t. She is a liar after all, so I for one probably wouldn’t take her seriously.

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