Jamie Freeze Baird
In defense of Helen Thomas
By Jamie Freeze Baird
June 9, 2010

Isn't it amazing how one fifteen-second-sound byte can bring a career to a grinding halt? I'm sure Helen Thomas is reflecting on that point even now. Gone are Helen Thomas's days of being a highly-respected news reporter. Now, her name is a byword for anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment. When asked her opinion of Israel, Thomas said, "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people [Palestinians] are occupied. And it's their land. It's not German, it's not Poland's." Then, when asked where the Jews living in Israel should go, she replied, "They could go home. Poland, Germany, and America, and everywhere else."

POOF. There went Thomas's job.

While I agree that Thomas's statement was inflammatory, insensitive, and just plain ignorant, I don't think she should have been forced to resign. After all, the freedom of speech doesn't come with the right to be comfortable. In other words, the fact that you're uncomfortable doesn't trump my free speech. Thomas made people uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean her speech should be punished.

If Helen Thomas can be forced to retire for espousing her personal views while not on the job, then what is stopping you and I from being forced to retire or resign if someone doesn't agree with us? Personally, I couldn't disagree more with Thomas's remark; however, I defend her right to say it. Voltaire once said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." While I don't agree with Voltaire on many things, I do agree with him on this point: Free speech should be protected and preserved.

Furthermore, if Thomas is being forced to retire, then I can think of a ton of popular figures that need to retire for making similar remarks: Al Sharpton, Mel Gibson, John Hagee, Halle Berry, Jeremiah Wright, etc. Now, I understand that as a reporter, Thomas's bias should be kept to a minimum. But if you believe any form of journalism is unbiased, then I have some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you. I'm glad we finally know where Thomas stands. I'd much rather read her news stories with a full understanding of her anti-Semitism than be misled into thinking otherwise. Moreover, since this is a free society, I can choose whether or not I will read her news stories. If I don't like her opinions, I can choose from a host of other opinions.

Unfortunately, political correctness trumps freedom of speech in America. Conservatives have long complained that political correctness was destroying our First Amendment. Yet, conservatives were the first to call for Thomas's resignation. I don't know if it's just me, but I smell a little hypocrisy. Conservatives applaud Ann Coulter when she flippantly makes anti-Muslim comments (calling for the invasion of their country and conversion to Christianity) yet attack Helen Thomas for making anti-Semitic remarks. Boy, the smell of hypocrisy is getting stronger. I am not asking you to determine whether or not Coulter's or Thomas's comments are right; I am asking you whether they deserve equal protection under the First Amendment. If we care anything about freedom, then we must say that both women deserve equal protection.

Conservatives should have been the first ones to stand up in defense of Helen Thomas. After all, aren't we the ones who are supposed to esteem the Constitution above political correctness? Or, have we fallen into the trap of ignoring our principles as long as we get rid of a liberal? Until I'm shown otherwise, I'll have to believe that many conservatives have no problem ignoring the Constitution as long as their own agenda is furthered. So long, honor. Adios, courage. Au revoir, principles. Shalom, self-respect. Please excuse me while I make a Wal-Mart run for some Pepto-Bismol. Seems I'm not able to stomach hypocrisy like I used to be able to.

© Jamie Freeze Baird


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Jamie Freeze Baird

Jamie Baird received battlefield experience in the war of ideology while attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. While earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, she served as Vice President of the College Republicans and was the lone conservative opinion columnist for The Carolinian, UNCG's student newspaper. After surviving college without becoming a liberal, she graduated in 2009. Jamie received her Master of Arts in Government, with certification in Law and Public Policy from Regent University in 2011, where she was also active in the College Republicans. You can contact Jamie at jamiebaird12@gmail.com with questions, comments, rants, and snide remarks.


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