I need to get on top of this because I'm pretty sure we're going to hear a LOT of anti-democratic lynch mob type stuff - and it's completely understandable, however wrong it might be.
But this is exactly what we lost during the Bush/Cheney administration. Respect for the law, accepting that we are a nation of laws, that the very freedoms we value are universal in nature, and that defending non-controversial rights is easy, it's the distasteful and disgusting that challenge our understanding of the true meaning of freedom. And that's what this is.
To deny freedom to Fred Phelps is ultimately to deny freedom to you and me. Truly, the slope is THAT slippery, and the bastions that fragile. He's a most disgusting, horrific creature, but we have to allow him to be that, in order to protect and defend our rights to challenge those in power, to question the decisions of our leadership and to call out for protest against that which we don't accept. Ultimately, it was wrong-headed to try to silence him, and that attempt had it's own consequences, as we can see. But we need to embrace this decision, as painful as that might be, because the alternative is a place we would not recognize, although a Chinese or Egyptian citizen certainly would.
Now, if somebody were to accept the consequences of their actions and punch Fred Fucking Phelps in the mouth, I'd be the very first in line to contribute to his legal defense fund. But like so many things, we have to understand that is an extralegal response to legal speech, and that way ultimately leads to the muzzling of us all....
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