Some Things You Didn’t Know About Me

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.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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34 Responses to Some Things You Didn’t Know About Me

  1. pattisj says:

    It’s amazing how many groups rely on the Constitution to uphold their bad behavior. Just because one CAN do it doesn’t mean it should be done.

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, Patti. This will be a very interesting election year as it is shaping up. I thought it would be about the economy, and it seems bogged down in human rights issues which we shouldn’t have to keep revisiting.

  2. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Do you ever wonder about some sort of a lie detector/shock collar thing-a-ma-gig for political candidates – it shouldn’t be too too precise – I mean you’d have to leave a little wiggle room, right? But it sure would thin out the herd, wouldn’t it? ; )

    • Coming East says:

      Oh, Deb, your comment is priceless! It had me laughing out loud. Just the image of those candidates wearing that shock collar and jumping every time they opened their mouths, gave me great delight. Guess I’m a terrible person…

  3. notquiteold says:

    I don’t understand why the people who say the government should stay out of our lives are often the same people who want to decide how everyone else should live.

  4. Totally loved your first paragraph! After wowing at your “hidden” talent and modesty, it left me thinking how much more can this lady do!

  5. Thoughtful post–you had me at ‘broadway’!! Totally bought your first paragraph.

  6. Robin says:

    LOL! Loved your ending. 🙂

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I agree with you in that there are things that are protected that make me angry, but I’d rather they were protected than have the government decide what I can and cannot say/write.

  7. The only thing that guarantees my free speech is that which guarantees the free speech of those I don’t care to hear. The Westboro folks, in particular, are horrible. But it’s not against the law to be horrible. When we hear the phrase “Freedom isn’t free,” this is part of what it means. We have to pay the price of listening to those we can’t stand in order to preserve our rights. If it weren’t for that, we may never have had the Declaration of Independence.

  8. winsomebella says:

    It seems everywhere we look are dangerous paths. And yes, you had me going on the off-Broadway bit parts 🙂

  9. julieemoore says:

    I hate the fact that haters can gather outside a funeral and shout such awful things at people in mourning. Yes it is freedom of speech but there should be limitations in some cases. I know the word limitations is not popular but to slander and yell such horrible hate slurs at the passing of a fallen soldier….

    • Coming East says:

      I know, Julie. That is one of the most hateful things I can think of, and I wonder why the family of the deceased do not have the right to mourn without being harassed. I think it would be easier to make that a harassment challenge rather than one of free speech. But, since the Court has decided that those idiots are protected under the First Amendment, I think lying about military honors pales in comparison and should be protected.

  10. Smaktakula says:

    Freedom of speech is a tricky thing, and comes with consequences. I graduated in the 50th percentile of my high school. Don’t feel bad for me, though–it means that I was at least smarter than half of ’em.

  11. Margie says:

    You are so right – if the truth police went after politicians, it would shut down every election.

  12. the domestic fringe says:

    I don’t think our government should become truth police either. And I despise people protesting at military funerals. It’s terribly disrespectful. To say the least.

    I think you’ve lead a charmed life. 😉

  13. Shary Hover says:

    I couldn’t wait to hear more about your time on broadway… you fooled me!

    I think we’d all be in trouble if lying were a crime. I just think of the lies I tell myself every day. 🙂

  14. edrevets says:

    I thought the first paragraph was real…..not saying I’m disappointed, just that it was written very convincingly. Maybe I just wanted to believe.

  15. I’d say our leadership is pretty messed up but then I have to remember it is our society that keeps putting them there…sigh. I agree with you though – as much as I think it is despicable to lie about receiving such an honor, I worry more about who gets to decide which lies are prosecutable or not. Because there are “lies” that we can’t even agree are “lies” like religious debates, homosexuality, marriage, etc and whose moral foundation wins out? It’s like my desire to keep religion out of schools – not because I am anti-religion, but because I actually would want my children to learn about ALL religions. Great thoughts.

  16. mairedubhtx says:

    I too will be watching to see how the Court rule of this. It seems to go against the First Amendment. It is despicable to lie, but who is it really hurting. It’s not like yelling fire in a crowded theater, as Oliver Holmes pointed out.

    • Coming East says:

      There are a lot of things that are protected that make me angry, but I still have to agree that the Constitution supports the, Maire, or I would worry that my freedoms could be amended, too.

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