Brownback: A No Free Speech Zone

Geez, how thin-skinned can you get? I’d think Gov. Sam Brownback’s staff would have better things to do than trolling Twitter looking for disparaging comments about their boss. Well, okay, actually I can understand them monitoring the word on the street, uh, tweet. But reporting a high school student to the principal because she said this? Really?

Just made mean comments at gov brownback and told him he sucked, in person #heblowsalot

The principal is insisting that high school student Emma Sullivan, who authored the tweet, write letters of apology to pretty much everyone in the western world.

Here’s the thing. Aside from that pesky First Amendment, which protects political speech, I find it extremely unlikely that this young woman actually said, “You suck,” to Brownback’s face. Had she done so, there would have been great uproar at the time. Twitter, with its 140-character limit, lends itself to shorthand. She didn’t have space to elaborate on the political points she made in opposition to Brownback’s policies, so she boiled them down to “told Pokies him he sucked”.

Here’s the other thing. Where were Brownback’s staffers when Rush Limbaugh referred to our African-American First Lady as “uppity”, a term fraught with racist and sexist history? Did they miss that one in their rush (ha) to find high school students saying rude things online about the governor?

See, I don’t really think it’s the responsibility of Brownback’s staffers to call out Limbaugh (although the silence from Republican leaders is just embarrassing), but they don’t have any business making a big deal out of a tweet sent by someone who doesn’t have a nationally syndicated radio show either.

Yeah, the language was rude. But Republicans getting their panties in a bunch about it is pretty damn hypocritical when their national spokesperson spews racism, sexism and homophobia on a daily basis to an audience of millions.


Of course, if Republican leaders did dare to speak out about Limbaugh, they also would find themselves in the principal’s office, forced to apologize for exercising their First Amendment rights.

via Think Progress

12 Responses to “Brownback: A No Free Speech Zone”

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  2. Del says:

    At first I was mostly appalled at this suppression of Free Speech!!1! etc but the more I think about it the more I am amazed at the sheer stupidity of Team Brownback. First we have the tattletale: “Niomi Burget, Brownback’s scheduling secretary, e-mailed a screen shot of the tweet to the Youth in Government sponsor at Shawnee Mission East, writing: ‘I don’t know if this was someone with your group, but thought if it was, you might want it brought to your attention.’” Yeah, the ol’ just-thought-you-should-know ploy. Just like what split up your Bunco group.

    And then cleanup from the so-called communications director, the even more euphoniously-named, perky blonde Sherriene Jones-Sontag, who is apparently a kindygarden teacher manqué. See, she just wants to teach the kids a valuable lesson. ““It’s also important for students to recognize the power of social media, how lasting it is. It is on the Internet,” says Sherriene.

    Yeah, no way this could make her boss looks like a petty tyrant, or worse yet, a perv who follows 18-year-old girls on Twitter. And sure enough, it is all on the Internet! It’s even made it to Brownback’s Wikipedia page. I hope that Emma’s letters of apology can be used as a reference for the ladies’ next job search.

  3. Kathy says:

    No one could have anticipated… :-)

  4. Joe White says:

    Funny that a student who identifies herself as liberal was the one to use a homosexual slur to try to insult someone.

  5. Kathy says:

    Perhaps the phrase started out as a homosexual slur, but I doubt an 18-year-old would see it in that context.

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