Home > Society > Helen Thomas Is Forced to Retire – This is Still America, Right?

Helen Thomas Is Forced to Retire – This is Still America, Right?

Standing Firm on American Ground

Why are more and more Americans suddenly becoming UnAmerican

Just last week Helen Thomas was forced to resign from her position at the Hearst News Service, due to her racy comments made on May 27th about Israelis getting out of Israel and returning to Germany, Poland or the US.

Freedom is a funny thing.  Some only like it when the flag of independence is blowing more steadily in their direction.  America continuously claims to be a citizen run, capitalist society – but more and more we appear to be losing large stake in this, “capital”.  What happened to, “let the market decide”?

Simply because Ms. Thomas stated something which is in no way associated with her publisher, in an interview with Rabbi David F. Nesen, on the White House lawn during the American Jewish Heritage Celebration Day, that goes against the majority American opinion (the Gallop Poll shows that US support for Israel is at 63%, a close to record high http://www.gallup.com/poll/126155/support-israel-near-record-high.aspx) she gets the ousted by her employers.

This is as un-American as pulling Don Imus off the air for his racist jokes towards the Rutgers Women’s players on April 4th 2010.  He called them, “nappy-headed hoes”.  It seems we always forget that the public has the choice to listen or read or do neither – or at least that is what I was taught in grammar school American Social Studies class.  Oh, but that was a long time ago, and who’s minding the details? Does my chocolate fudge sundae really taste all that much worse if the girl forgot to put the M&M on top?  Hmm, bad analogy, because think of it I really love M&Ms.  How about a cheeseburger with pickles when I didn’t ask for any?  Damn it!  I’ll tolerate it once, but if it happens again … oh, well.

What will it take before Americans wake up to the reality that their freedom to speak is being stripped away slowly (or freedom to speak and still make a living, I should say) because after all America is still a land where one can walk into their favourite bar and say: “Fuck America,”; “Fuck Obama,”; “Fuck Bush before him,”; and still make it home without a stop at a Secret Service jail – and if that’s changed I wouldn’t know because after all – they don’t call it secret for no reason.

But the troubling issue is how the country has inverted its model.  Instead of citizens saying, Helen Thomas, Dom Imus, Howard Stern or Rosie O’Donnel (to name a few) are idiots, so I won’t listen anymore – therefore won’t be attracted by their advertisers – who would then rightly fire the personalities because they are no longer profitable – and I’m sure we are all aware of how “unprofitable” Stern and O’Donnel were to their respective companies:  ” Despite controversy — or maybe because of it — O’Donnell was good business for ABC, owned by the Walt Disney Co. Ratings for “The View” during February sweeps were up 15 percent in key women demographics over the same time in 2006. “ http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story?id=3077493&page=1;  “ Stern was carried on almost 50 radio stations across the country. His show generated almost $100 million in advertising revenue and an additional $50 million in cash flow for CBS.” http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2010/01/clear-channel-wants-to-kiss-and-make-up-with-howard-stern-.html reversely Dom Imus, who  reached about 3.25 million people a week before his controversial remarks, a fraction of other big name radio hosts should have been fired for low audience shares years ago http://nybw.businessweek.com/the_thread/brandnewday/archives/2005/04/imus_audience_slips_in_new_york_but_he_still_packs_a_punch.html, as for Helen Thomas, one could argue the same.  How many ardent followers did she have anymore?

Instead, these people say something, “bad” and the suits decide, and the major advertisers decide before the audience chooses (or worse while the audience is choosing at times to stay – Don Imus actually came back with higher audience interest than when he left  http://www.dailyfinance.com/story/media/imus-debut-is-a-ratings-hit-for-fox-business/19186597/) to remove the voice from the air.  Sadly over the last decade, more and more of these voices have been silenced and they are almost all of the less popular opinion.

I hear Americans say frequently that they live in a democracy.  This is not true!  You live in a republic- though it’s tough to tell.  A democracy is primarily based on majority rules.  In a simplified way it means that if 7 votes say, “hang ‘em” then the other 3 don’t count.  Notice this is much better than totalitarianism or dictatorialness – which is why Bush’s “I’m the decider” sounded so scary.  But a republic is built on different ground.  It wants to find a way to restrict the majority so that everyone has a voice, a vote, a piece, in the best manner possible – unless that freedom in some ways infringes on my freedom. http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/AmericanIdeal/aspects/demrep.html; http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/politics/democracy/3388-Republic-Democracy-Whats-the-Difference.html?print.

So where is Ms. Thomas’ piece, where was Dom Imus’ piece and the many other who have had to suffer being cut from the system or who still are?  Americans, or more broadly, people, need to wake up to what is happening to their right of expression.  It’s simply not acceptable to fire someone, or force them to retire, or make any alteration to their livelihood or whatever other fancy semantically appropriate term we want to use, based upon one’s opinion or political view.  The individual must be empowered once more.

We have, for a very long time, been more willing to trust the government than ourselves.  It seems we have forgotten the government’s role in our lives as constructed by the Founding Fathers – and it’s an important one:

“…a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” – Thomas Jefferson.

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government — lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” – Patrick Henry

The American government was established primarily to protect us from other people who might try to take away our right to be free.  Sadly this does not include emotional protection – I guess people back then had thicker skins.  Nowadays we have to put blinders on for everything.  God forbid we think an Israeli is a terrorist (this must mean we are Nazis according to the right) or that Barack Obama really has no clue what he’s doing (this must mean we are Racists according to the left, which is just as guilty of anti-American scare mongering.)  But you know something?  What if one is!?!  Good for them!  Plenty of guys that are still left on the airwaves I believe to be racists – I don’t listen to them – but if there are enough people that do, that they’ve earned their right to stay on the air.

Liberty comes at a price – that price is the acknowledgement that others posses the right to this same liberty.  We must accept and respect this right – which is a far cry from accepting and respecting the actual opinion or person.  Words are power, and the ones who can control words can ultimately control reality.  Now imagine if only a select few were allowed this opportunity.

The coming years are wrought with uncertainty, rumours of wars, disasters, plague and bigger governments with bigger agendas, offering bigger solutions to all our woes.  What this ultimately means is that now is the time of the individual to awaken.  Perhaps the dragon has become too fat to be slain, our sharp words won’t cut through its thick skin any longer, but though its girth has made it implacable it also has made is slow – easy to be spotted, quickly avoided.  What happens after that, is solely up to you.

This brings me to an important final point.  Do Americans really want change?  The more I think of it – the less I know.  After the World Wars, when America got a taste of global domination, it seemed that both her and her citizens forgot humility.  Americans don’t want to be Norway or Canada – which usually rank above it in terms of safety and  education, but have little to no importance on the world stage. http://www.siteselection.com/ssinsider/snapshot/sf011210.htm; http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/463793/top_5_safest_countries_in_the_world.html?cat=9

Americans have a certain pride in knowing that there is a McDonald’s on every corner of the globe or that practically wherever they go there will be someone who speaks English.  It’s a dangerous line which is crossed when pride becomes ego.  My wish is for Americans to realize the good which has come from their system but to not become so entrenched in its mystique that it distorts its primary good and purpose: the betterment of its own country and citizens.  That is the American dream.


Categories: Society
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  1. June 14, 2010 at 12:36 am

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