His license plate says “NOT SEE”. No big deal, right? Except there’s an image of a swastika above the license plate!
And now it comes down to whether or not we believe in 1st Amendment rights. The text of the amendment is pretty simple. You’d have to hire someone to help you misunderstand it:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
James McElroy, Attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center commented implied that it wouldn’t be covered by free speech because it’s not a “legitimate political belief.” Maybe he did hire someone to help him misunderstand the 1st Amendment. I certainly don’t see where it says that only political free speech is covered by the amendment. Looks to me like it covers ALL speech.
Either we believe in free speech, or we don’t. The owner of this license plate is entitled to do this, as offensive as it is. It’s part of his 1st Amendment rights. It protects everyone as long as they aren’t harming someone else.
But just because you CAN say something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. In my opinion, this is inappropriate. But so are a host of other things that are perfectly legal. So where do we draw the line in legislating appropriateness and good judgment?
As a side note, this man is a local school bus driver and has been suspended because of the license plate pending an internal investigation. It will be interesting to hear the outcome and what school rule he violated. What do you think? Should he have been suspended?
Photo credit Flicker Mr_G_Travels
via The Real Side Radio Show with Joe Messina 11/18/13