Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

   October 22 we were privileged to have three candidates for local office---Matt Stone and Bill Levin, Libertarian candidates for City-County Council, and Conrad Cortellini, write-in candidate for mayor. Mr. Levin expressed himself in a fashion familiar to me. He twice used forms of a four-letter word. In various forms and contexts, the word can be a noun, an adjective, or a gerund. Usually it is a transitive verb. It shares with the word "firetruck" the same letters: the first and the last three.

   A question was raised, after Bill left, about whether the discourse was civil, since the word---some in broadcasting call it the "Big One"---was used.

   Just as there are various forms of  the Big One, so, too, there are various meanings of the word "civil."  Here, three are important: "1. of or consisting of citizens ... 7.  polite; courteous. 8. not rude or discourteous."  The AMerican College Dictionary, 1962 ed. Bill's use of the word was to describe mechanisms of government. He did not direct the language at anyone on the program. Had he done so, he would have been admonished. We have a few of rules on the show, a couple of which are: don't talk over someone else as that person talks; don't wear striped shirts (they screw with the camera somehow).

   The First Amendment allows freedom of speech. The particular word in question was deemed protected by the First Amendment in Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15.

   We have fun on the Show. We also try to enlighten others and learn ourselves. I believe Bill's contribution to the discourse this past Saturday was excellent. We look forward to his appearing again. Only this time, he should call a cigar a Churchill when it is a Churchill, and not a panatela. 

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