Freedom from speech

At lunch time today a group of us were having a political discussion. As usual the most anti-Bush of us were the most vocal. I say “anti-Bush” instead of “liberal” because one of the most vocal guys is a hard-core Republican who is ashamed that he’s going to have to vote for Kerry because Bush isn’t really a Republican, because of his record deficits and assault on the Constitution. Before the USA PATRIOT act, he and I got into very heated arguments about the purpose of government and who should be helping whom.

Anyway, today we had a woman joining us for lunch who used to eat with us, but stopped. And I think I see why. She’s a hard-core partisan Republican, and claims that Rob isn’t a Republican because he’s not voting for Bush, and Bush is the only person who can fight terrorism. I was trying to be fairly moderate to not make her too uncomfortable while she’s so out-numbered by people who disagree with her politics so completely. But then she turns to me and says “You shouldn’t even be talking”. “What?”, I asked. “You’re not a citizen, you can’t vote, so you shouldn’t even be talking.” I was flabergasted. I half expected her to tell me to “love it or leave it”.

Sorry, I was under the misapprehension that freedom of speech had only been drastically curtailed, not totally eliminated.