A tragic day for America

The House has now passed the indecent indecency bill.

We are the only nation with a First Amendment. In a time when speech is being attacked in China — with help from American corporations — and across the Middle East and in Russia and in too many places to name, we should be standing by this principle above all others. If we can’t show the way in anything else, we should show the way in protecting free speech.

Instead, Washington played a cynical political game with a cult of allegedly religious nuts who share kinship with the mobs that burned down embassies and businesses because they were offended by the Danish Mohammed cartoons. Those nuts took their toll in blood. Our nuts take their toll in money. That’s American.

We are suffering under they tyranny of the offended and we must fight back. As Christopher Hitchens said at the Hay Festival in the UK last week, it is our right not only to practice religion but to criticize it. It is our right to offend.

: By the way, as I understand it, this legislation carries a maximum fine of $3 million per incident. The FCC already multiplied fees for its latest record fine to go over that amount. So the financial impact of this may be nothing. Which makes it an even more cynical act. It’s a PR move. And my colleagues in media keep falling for it. There is no public outcry, damnit. The public is watching the shows that offend the allegedly religious nuts. The allegedly religious nuts offend me.