No, you can’t say anything you want

This vintage typwriter is our featured image.

Apparently Curt Schilling isn’t alone. A lot of people seem to agree with him. Or at the very least, they don’t believe the ex-pro baseball player and TV analyst should have been fired for what he did.

In case you don’t know what that was, he shared a post mocking the transgender community on Facebook and added some disparaging comments of his own.

So now some people say Schilling is the victim. They say he was fired because he wasn’t being politically correct. They claim the First Amendment gives him the right to have his say.

I concur — but only to a point. He may have been well within his rights to do what he did, but that doesn’t make it OK. Not by a long shot.

For The Record

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

As I indicated in my last post — I firmly believe that in a free society, everyone has or should have a right to express their opinion. I also think that the politically correct crowd — also known as the “thought police” or “polite police” — is running amok in the United States.

But the bottom line is, the First Amendment may bar the government from making rules that curtail freedom of speech — but it doesn’t mean that you can or should say whatever you want. For example, as we all learned in elementary school, “you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater.”

In some cases, the government can also restrict activity classified as:

  • speech that incites illegal activity and subversive speech
  • fighting words
  • obscenity and pornography
  • commercial speech
  • symbolic expression

On the other hand, “the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that speech that merely offends, or hurts the feelings of, another person—without eliciting a more dramatic response—is protected by the First Amendment. The Court has also underscored the responsibility of receivers to ignore offensive speech.”

So it seems America’s highest court believes in that old saying about “sticks and stones.” But that’s where the politically correct crowd comes in. If you say or do something upsetting, you won’t be punished in a court of law, but you will definitely be censured in the court of public opinion.

And as we’ve seen that can have devastating consequences.

Back To The Matter At Hand

As for Schilling, he says he doesn’t hate transgender people or homosexuals. He’s says he’s not scared of them, either. He says he was merely making a legitimate point about the design and use of public restrooms.

At the end of the day, only he knows what his true intentions were. But as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t really matter.

It’s not a question of being politically correct.  It’s simply a question of being a decent human being.

Apparently common decency is something Curt Schilling is sorely lacking.