ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on February 15, 2011





Perhaps our greatest freedom, guaranteed in our Bill of Rights, and envied by much of the world, is that of free speech.   But, as has frequently been pointed out, it is not absolute - you can’t holler fire in a crowded theater when there is no fire.  You can get in trouble for libel or slander.


By extension, free speech can include protest.  But one’s right to protest should stop short of curtailing others’ rights.  For example, blocking traffic to protest, resulting in preventing the free movement of other people is, in my opinion, clearly wrong.  This used to happen on crowded street corners and in public parks.  Then, the extreme of this happened when protestors stopped traffic on a major Los Angeles freeway.   I think those perpetrators deserve to spend some time in jail.  If protestors want to gather large groups to make a point, let them use a stadium or empty field - anyplace where they don’t usurp others’ rights.


Now we have the case of the Muslim students at University of California, Irvine, who disrupted a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.  Eleven of them systematically, consecutively shouted remarks at him such as accusing him of condoning murder.  Not only was this extremely rude and inconsiderate to the 500 or more people who had come to hear this man, but it was, to him, even more so.  He was, after all, an invited guest of the university.  If these Muslim students wanted to protest his appearance, they could have picketed outside the building.

They could have made their feelings known in campus newsletters, written letters to the dean, visited fraternities and sororities.  There were many avenues to pursue to make their opposition known that would not have interfered with the rights of others.


The university’s response has been to put the Muslim Student Union on suspension for one year.  However, this group did not endorse the actions of the eleven protestors, even though their president was one of them.  So, this seems a little unfair.  On the other hand, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas intends to charge them with misdemeanors that could land them in jail for up to six months.   That seems a bit harsh.  Somewhere between these two extremes seems appropriate.


Speaking of extremes, the right to protest, taken to the extreme, can become treason.  One of the dictionary definitions of treason is “giving them aid and comfort”, referring to the country’s enemies.  The classic example was Jane Fonda, who went to North Vietnam and posed with enemy soldiers and their guns.  She then called our soldiers  “baby killers”.  Clearly, this was aiding the enemy in time of war.  Had “Hanoi Jane” used her celebrity to protest an unpopular war by going on television, by writing her congressman, or writing a book, she would have been exercising her right of free speech.  Instead, her actions made her a traitor.  In many countries that would have resulted in her imprisonment or even execution. Rather than being welcomed back to the entertainment industry, she should have been given a lengthy prison sentence.


Another example was Bill Ayers, an Obama supporter, who was part of the infamous Weather Underground that protested the Vietnam War by bombing the New York Police Department Headquarters, the Capital, and the Pentagon.  He never served jail time for his actions.  Whether the war was justified or not, is another argument, but how it was protested was an abuse of our right of free speech.  Let’s not let it happen again.

My Book

If you enjoy nostalgia, and if you are interested in motorcycles, you might like my book, OVER THE HANDLEBARS. It is a collection of short stories and articles most of which were first published in motorcycle magazines in the 1960s. I also have written two other books about motorcycling availalbe from  You can read them on your computer for just $2.99.  Go to

And, if you enjoyed this hub, you may want to check out some of my others. I have now posted over 50 "hubs". Go to hubpages//dongately. To see them all, click on more.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)