A Reminder That Free Speech Is Fragile

In the past week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Florida Republicans decided that the Walt Disney Corporation deserved to be punished for speaking out against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Also, the Supreme Court is hearing a case on whether a football coach has the right to pray on school grounds (and more important, should those who don’t pray with him face repercussions?) And Elon Musk just purchased Twitter.

For what it’s worth, I’m not on Twitter too much. While I am glad they got rid of Trump and his cronies, I’m just wondering if this an attempt to get him back on the medium after the failure of Parler and his own Truth Social. Granted, I’m sure Musk didn’t give two fucks about Trump. Musk is a lot richer. Real estate is a 20th Century way to become rich. The 21st Century is about technology.

I really don’t think Trump will be much of a threat to social media as much as Musk himself. There has to be a reason the richest man in the world wants to buy a social media platform. Maybe it’s to control what is on the platform. Twitter has been around for a while, but the question is how much longer will be now. Facebook is dying. If it’s around by the end of this decade, I’ll be surprised. It will join MySpace and CollegeClub with all those other social media platforms that had a good run until someone came up and took what they did and made it better.

If you don’t remember CollegeClub, it was around for a few years before almost abruptly ending. And like Twitter, there weren’t hardly many rules on what content could be used. Nudity and sexual content was commonly shared, just like Twitter. Maybe Musk wants to do away with this. If so, look for a lot of people to stop usingit. I highly doubt that because there’s still a lot of money in Twitter.

And Yahoo! is a prime example of something that is outdated. Or does anyone remember AOL? About 20 years ago, these were the two platforms were people could communicate by using messenger. Now, not many people use it anymore. A Yahoo! account may be kept to get a free month of Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime, but even Netflix has reported it’s lost many subscribers.

Musk says one thing but I think he has other intentions. Sure, it’s bragging rights. He gets to look at Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg and smile a bigger grin. He’s the richest person in the world and he owns a social media platform. Three men who are waving their digital big dicks at one another.

I don’t agree with it. I don’t like it. I don’t got to use Twitter. I just hope it’s not use to spread false information. And Musk may have walked into a problem. Tech companies spend millions on lobbying to keep themselves labeled “tech companies.” Now, when I was working for newspapers and there was a website, we had to monitor what people said to protect ourselves. The question is how many more legislators will feel that Twitter is an actual media platform and therefore, Musk can be held liable.

Another big corporation was in the news with Republicans in Florida fighting Disney. Now, I’m not defending Disney for a lot of things. But as the old saying goes, a broken clock is right twice a day. Disney at first seemed to lobby legislators who were in favor of the bill. Then, they spoke out against it. Then, DeSantis decided Disney needed to have its special tax status revolked. This is very common in politics but never on this full big scale. DeSantis and the Republicans have some big balls for doing this but it may backfire in a big way.

First off, they did this in an election year. This could very easily affect the 2022 election. I’m almost sure it will, but we don’t know how as the Congressional districts have been redrawn to favor Republicans. Second, the counties (Orange and Osceola) where DisneyWorld is located will have to pick up the taxes. This won’t take effect until 2023 but a lot of property owners are probably not to happy with it. People vote with their pocketbooks and if they know they’re going to have to spend more in taxes, they’ll do anything to get the people out of office who caused it.

Florida ia a tourist state. With people finally starting to get back to go on vacations after two years of dealing with the Covid pandemic, this is a problem. You don’t shit where you eat. And the Florida Republicans just sprayed diarrhea all up and down the serving line. People don’t have to take vacations in Florida. I’m not sure how it will affect it, because we live in a crazy country where people burn items they already purchased in protest.

DeSantis seems to be one-upping Trump on his punishment of businesses and people who don’t do what he says. He obviously wants to be President. If he is re-elected as governor (and even if he isn’t), don’t be surprised when he announces his candidacy. DeSantis can always use the Republican playbook of questioning the results, except there’s no electoral votes in the Florida gubernatorial election.

But did he violate Disney’s First Amendment rights? Yes and no. Yes, it’s punishment. But they can always say they just felt the special tax status was unfair.

Now, the last one is the case in Washington state where a former high school football coach Joe Kennedy was praying mid-field after games. He was the coach for Bremerton High School. Despite being told by his superintendent to do this in private, he continued to do it and was put on suspension. Then, they didn’t renew his contract.

He claims he was persecuted for his religious views. But reports indicate they didn’t allow Satanists to also have a service on the field. That’s religious persecution. Now, I have very strong issues with anyone who prays openly at sporting events. It’s showboating. Nothing more. I can’t speak for Kennedy but I know his types.

There were coaches in my hometown were very religious. Some were pastors. And that was fine. But they acted like everyone should cater to them. “I am a Christian” is one of the most pompous things I’ve heard people say. Also, true Christians wouldn’t scream and berate children who are putting their health at risk in a dangerous contact sport. While I never heard any profanity from the coaches in my hometown, I did hear it when I was covering sports in other towns. And then to see these people who just swore out a 16-year-old for not catching a football speak about God and Jesus is very sickening.

And some players said they were more or less forced to pray if they wanted to have better play time. I don’t doubt it. People using religious pressure to get what they want. Just look at the Don’t Say Gay bill.

Unfortunately, it’s dangerous for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of this. It can open up a whole new set of problems. Teachers shouldn’t force their religion on people. But what happens if a primary school teacher uses it as a way to get pre-school or kindergarten students to pray? Student at that age are very impressionable. We’ve already heard stories of coaches who invited players to a pool party that turned into a baptism.

Kennedy screwed up. He needs to realize that he went against his supervisor’s orders. I know what people are saying that is was voluntary. But why does Kennedy feel the need to pray at that moment. Why doesn’t he pray privately in his office before and/or after the game? He wants people to see him as “good Christian person.” It’s typical. It’s the sin of pride that Christrians do.

If praying after a game was so damn important, why could they ask one of the churches to open up and invite people there? It never ceases to amaze me how there are so many fucking churches in America and how many of them are mostly closed to the public on a regular basis. Why open a church for an after game service when you can get everyone to do it on the football field? That’s why they really want.

That being said, “free speech” had consequences. The government can’t restrict it, but your employer can to a degree. Schools can’t endorse one religion and that’s what Kennedy was doing. And “free speech” seems to be a way racists and bigots say they can speak what they want. At the same time, they want to restrict what others say. If people want to use racial slurs or derogatory remarks about the LGBTQIA community or women, they must realize that it can have consequence.

Musk and DeSantis need to realize that they’re not as powerful as they think. Look at Theranos which was once a multi-billion dollar company. And DeSantis handling of the Covid pandemic as well as this may get him booted from the governor’s office. As for Musk, it’s hard to say. When you have a lot of money, it’s hard to get offended. But money and wealth only exists because we say it does.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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