During the course of this blog, I’ve shared many things about my life, but I’ve also left many interesting facts out. For example, I bet you didn’t know that I graduated at the top of my high school class when I was only sixteen, and then I took a break from my education and went to New York where I had bit parts in off-Broadway shows for a couple of years before I returned to school at the University of Connecticut. I was able to finish in three years and then went on to get my Ph.D. in applied mathematics at the University of Chicago. Though I was offered a high-paying job as an F.B.I. analyst, I turned it down to marry the love of my life and have his children.
Sigh. The truth is I graduated at seventeen somewhere in the top quarter of my class and got an English degree at UConn, married the love of my life (that part, at least, is true!) and we moved to rural Connecticut, lived across from the cow pastures, and I stayed at home, baking bread and raising kids.
The Supreme Court said it will review the Stolen Valor Act which makes it a crime to lie about receiving a military honor. A Federal Appeals Court found that it violates free speech rights. This will be an interesting case to follow because, as it stands now, it basically gives the government the ability to decide which lies it deems worthy of prosecution. While I think lying about receiving a service medal is despicable, I’m not sure I would want to say it isn’t protected by the First Amendment, I’ll be listening to the arguments very carefully.
The problem is that so many despicable things are protected under the First Amendment, you can’t start picking and choosing which things are too despicable. Its all in the eye of the beholder. For example, it was ruled that people could gather outside a military funeral and shout anti-military or anti-gay slurs. “The Supreme Court ruled decisively Wednesday that a fringe anti-gay group has a constitutionally protected right to stage hateful protests at the funerals of dead servicemen, saying ‘such speech cannot be restricted simply because it is upsetting or arouses contempt.'” (Washington Times, March 2, 2011). That makes me spitting mad, but I still don’t think I want the government being the truth police. That’s a dangerous path to take.
Some argue that lying about the facts has never been supported by the First Amendment. If that were the case, it would shut the mouths of all our presidential candidates. Hmmm…maybe I need to give this more thought.