Anti-Obama Tailgate Message, Over the Limit? Part II

By: Nicole Morten Email
By: Nicole Morten Email

Each of these amendments has served a purpose over the course of history. When it comes to politics and the direction of the U.S. Government, Americans are finding new ways to be heard. For example, take retired Air Force veteran, Kris Lauritzen. He took the First Amendment by the wheel.

"I spent 26 years in the military and I swore to defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic,” said Lauritzen, Retired USAF. I'm not a political person, I don’t know what did it, but I know there isn't a bumper sticker out there that can express my feelings.”

Instead, Lauritzen spelled out his feelings with words some people may find offensive. But those who focus on the implied language Lauritzen uses may be missing the point.

“The message he is trying to convey is that he is frustrated with the current state of events and that things need to change,” said wife, Carmen.

Former politician and former president of Florida State University, Sandy D'Alemberte said political speech is at the heart of the first amendment. “It may not be a very tasteful thing to say or do and it may offend a number of people, but because speech is offensive… is not a basis for restricting it so long as it’s serving an important public purpose; free debate, free discussion is considered to be the highest level for protection.”

“I know my rights I know what’s freedom of speech,” said Lauritzen. “I know I'm not inciting anything, or threatening anything. You know people have bumper stickers, you know mine is just over the top, and if you find it offensive...I don’t care”

While it may be over the top, is it over the limit?

“There is Supreme Court authority that deals with the word suggested in that bumper sticker,” said D'Alemberte. “And even if the whole word had been spelled out, there would still be protection because this is political speech.”

And that freedom, even when it may be offensive to some, many people say, is at the core of America's democracy.

“It’s kind of one of those foundational principles that is at the heart of our democracy,” said Paul R. McAdoo, Attorney for Thomas & LoCicero in Tampa. “Our form of government is to allow people to speak out, voice their opinion, voice their positions and as one Supreme Court justice called it, it’s the market place of ideas, the more speech the better, and let the marketplace decide which opinion will prevail.”


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Two Thumbs up Location: Lynn Haven on Apr 30, 2010 at 01:30 PM
    We need more people out there like this fella!! If your not satisfied with your government you have free speech and the ability to make change. All you have to do is research...get informed, be informed. If we sit back and let socialism reign over our democracy wht in the heaaaylll are we going to do? Then well really have our panty's in a wad huh? Dave--isnt it rediculous we cant have freedom to express our feeling without a bunch of dbags trying to mess it all up?
  • by deedee Location: pc on Apr 30, 2010 at 08:50 AM
    When people were critizing and bashing Pres Bush, all the Republicans said you had to respect the office of President even if you didn't like his policies because it was un-American to do otherwise. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, they have no respect for the office of President.
  • by dave Location: marianna on Apr 30, 2010 at 06:56 AM
    I had an "IMPEACH OBAMA" bumper sticker. Had to replace it 3 times because it was defaced. Free speech apparently cuts both ways.
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