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Even Bad Speech Is Good

I posted a story yesterday about how the freshly minted CEO of Mozilla was forced to step down because of the backlash to his support of Prop 8 in California. Brendan Eich donated $1,000 to support inequality and second class citizenship of the gay community. I’m obviously vehemently opposed to what he and his like minded peers were trying to do.

I’m also vehemently opposed to punishing someone for having an opinion, even if it’s a bad opinion. Bad opinions are valuable because they move national discussions forward, which is exactly what this one did. If Prop 8 had never passed, DOMA would still be the law of the land and we would still only have about six states with marriage equality. This bad opinion put us on a fast track to the inevitable because it was a bad opinion. Treating people as second class citizens is a bad idea and over time, the good idea was going to become the majority idea. Prop 8 led to the striking down of DOMA, which led to the striking down of bad anti-equality laws all across the country. Does anyone think that the anti-equality law in Utah would have gotten a second look without DOMA having been struck down? In the long arc of history, good ideas always prevail. It doesn’t happen quickly, but it happens.

The only reasons I can come up with for shutting down the ability of someone to express an idea, is because you’re threatened or you’re blinded by emotion. Both the right and the left have adopted and embraced this dangerous and short sided tactic of shutting down opinions they don’t like.

To my fellow liberals who are rejoicing over Eich’s resignation, I have a question; have you forgotten the "you’re either with us, or you’re unpatriotic" Bush years? Seriously. What are you rejoicing over? Do you really think that next time, it won’t be your idea that is deemed shun worthy again? I know what you’re saying; "but I was right". Yes, and your opinion was a threat to the thin ice that the pro Iraq invasion and occupation side were trumpeting so they shut you down. And you’re emotionally invested in marriage equality, so you shut down the other side. But the end result is the same; Americans advocating for shutting up other Americans.

I don’t know what Eich’s motivations were for opposing equality, and I don’t care. He gets to have an opinion without having his livelihood threatened for the rest of his life. Why are we happy with this outcome? Shutting people up is just unAmerican. I’m sorry, but it is and I don’t care what your motivations are. There are plenty of places in the world we abhor for shutting people up. Do we really want to turn into that?

This is a stupid and dangerous path to take and anyone who thinks that Eich’s termination is a victory better think again.

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