'Page Two' Did Not Champion Free Speech

RECEIVED Mon., Nov. 13, 2006

Dear Editor,
    Re: “Page Two” [Nov. 3]: OK, but isn't buying or not buying a Dixie Chicks CD an avenue of free speech, too? I love your passion, but I do wonder, what if the message were reversed, and the Dixie Chicks freely pronounced love and support for their president overseas and their followers rallied and refused to buy their CDs because they disagreed with their point of view? Would you have written the same type of article? Would you (still) vehemently defend the Dixie Chicks for exerting their free speech rights and forcefully denounce their followers for disagreeing and not buying their CDs and discussing it ad nauseam on talk radio? Isn't that reaction an example of free speech? Either way, aren't we missing the point of freedom of speech when we only defend one side of free expression (of any issue)?
    If any public figure makes a public statement [which they are free to do], do not all people have a right to freely respond (pro, con, and in the middle)?
    I do not see this article as championing free speech for all – rather it defends expression of only one side in this particular argument. The Dixie Chicks have the freedom to say and do anything they choose. Should not their fans be afforded equal freedom?
    When a political movement arises from disagreement over a public figure's position, is that also a travesty of freedom? Hardly. It's what free people do when they disagree. They express themselves, whether it's at the ballot box or the cash register or otherwise.
Helaine Thornton
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