Monday, June 21, 2010

Freedom of Speech: Whadaya Think?

From the Kansas City Star

I'll admit it: I am posting a picture of this trailer that has been used as a bill board down in Bates County and its associated story to see what sort of comments it generates. Here's a link to the story in the Kansas City Star.

The short version is that this man set this trailer with this message on it next to highway 71 in Bates County, south of the Kansas City metro. Since he set it there, it has been set on fire twice and a building nearby has been burnt as well. The provocative message reads: Are you a producer or parasite. Democrats--party of parasites.

Let's have it, on either the sign or the reactions in the 588 comments (!!!) to the article on the web.

Me? Freedom of speech, baby. The folks who set his trailer and house on fire need to go to jail for arson. The comments? All good, as long as people remain reasonably civil to each other. We won't solve anything if we can't talk this out, this issue of other people's money and helping those who need it, and taking responsibility for our selves.

Update/9:45 PM/6/21: Somebody dug this up about the sign/trailer's owner: He took farm subsidies, $1 million worth. Boy, if you're going to have an opinion in public, you better be consistent. Looks a little bit hypocritical to be taking money from the government with this sign on your land. Comments are a flyin' already in the Star to the tune of 81 in less than 4 hours. Like many of the commenters on the article, it's hard for me not to wonder that someone who disagrees with the man worked very hard to find this data and present it in a manner damaging to this man and his message.


WarmSocks said...

Farmers work. Hard. Part of their pay comes from the sale of their crops/herds, and part of their pay comes from the government. That's the way it is in this country. Teachers, policemen, and others are paid for their work with some of our tax money.

There's a huge difference between subsidizing farmers so they can afford to work producing food for our nation, and welfare support for those who won't work.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
Oh, wow, here it comes a-rocking!

There is a strategic benefit and economic benefit to having farmers producing here.

Nevertheless, I am against the Farm Bill as it is written. Like Warm Socks, I agree it's part of the way we do stuff. I just think it needs MAJOR overhaul, a poorly-run, pork barrel piece of legislation.

Now free speech, as the Farm Bill is slightly off-topic: Yes, let's please have it, and no arson. This dude can have his truck up if he wants. He does invite scrutiny but not crime in my book.

I bet I don't like him in person. He's judgemental and has used escalated language. Therefore, he has invited the same kind of language and judgement (but not predation) back.

Ann T.

Anonymous said...

Freedom of speech? Absolutely. I'd fight all day for this guy's right to say this, just so I could hunt him down some day to tell him what a jerk-off he is.

the observer said...


Thanks for dropping in. I'm glad that you like free speech. You even have the freedom to not like someone. It would be better to push the discourse further along however. Attack mode, while carthetic, does nothing to move things forward.

Just sayin'

the observer said...

Warm Socks--
I agree with you about subsidies and with Ann T about the crappy state of this program.

It might be a good bloggy project to do something about farm subsidies and the state of farming in the US--if you can wade through all the political manure to do it. YUCK--worse than a winter's worth of liquidized chicken poop!!

Thanks for commenting--pop in any time!

The Observer

the observer said...

Ann T:

You've just about summed it up. Really, if the man's sign gets folks thinking, even if they think he's off base, or they think he's right on, then progress has been made.

Might need to do something on farming subsidies someday, but like I said, it's like a tank of liquidized chicken poop--very very stinky!

The Observer

Bob G. said...

My Daddy always said that for MOST folks, it was darn hard to speak out of BOTH SIDES of your mouth.
But there are some to which the exception applies.
And anyone that takes subsidies and then bites the hand that feeds him, kinda fits the bill.

the observer said...

Bob G:
The trailer's statement was a worthy point of public debate. The revelations that he took monies from the gubmint changed the stage of the debate and made it less likely to be about self reliance, independence and other people's money and more about him and individuals.

That was a net loss, really, and made the discussion not as worth while as it could have been.