I hate football. Not as much as I detest baseball and basketball and NASCAR, but the mere thought of sitting in a stadium watching a football match or game or whatever it’s called makes me dream of the sweet release of death. So when I heard that Rush Limbaugh wanted to buy one of these teams or crews or squadrons or whatever they are called, I shook my head. If I had a couple hundred loose mil to spend, it would be on a tropical island, not a bunch of ‘roided-up dudes bashing into each other and preempting my favorite shows. But its Rush’s money and this is America.
Well, it was America. Apparently, that’s changed in the last few days because now it appears that Rush cannot be allowed to spend his own money as he wants to because his political views are unsatisfactory. He’s conservative, and therefore the rights, privileges and immunities or any other American citizen no longer appear apply to him. Just ask Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), who urged the NFL not to allow Rush’s bid to buy some team (The Rams? The Raiders? The Yankees? I really don’t follow this stuff).
Let me get this straight, because this is more disturbing than the thought of having to attend a hockey doubleheader: An American political leader is demanding that a private business not do business with an American citizen because she does not approve of his politics.
Am I the only one who thinks this is kind of a problem? In fact, isn’t this kind of an assault on the very foundation of our political system?
Oh, well, it’s really because of his inflammatory rhetoric, not his politics – as if that was a distinction with a difference. You can be conservative, I guess – you just can’t talk about it. I sure wish someone had told me that my First Amendment rights came with an asterisk before I twice deployed with the Army to defend them.
What’s particularly interesting is how the words Rush has actually uttered turn out not to be so inflammatory at all. And the quotes floating around that he did not actually utter seem so transparently ridiculous – nonsense about slavery nostalgia and idiocy regarding giving James Earl Ray a medal – that it’s hard to believe that anyone would credit them unless they were either utterly unconcerned with the truth or the mainstream media. Oh, wait – that’s redundant.
It’s those off-the-wall crazy quotes, published in a book and now being re-published by the left wing demolition crew that pique my lawyerly interest. I know a bit about libel law – in my first plaintiff’s case the jury awarded my libeled client $3,049,912 (yeah, I remember it to the freakin’ penny). I’d think long and hard about publishing stuff I know to be demonstrably untrue – especially when it’s lies about a guy with a whole bunch of money to spend on lawyers because he’s not buying a football team.
But beyond that, do we really want a country where if you hold views that annoy the powerful you are barred from doing business and freely lied about in print and on the air? Because it that’s the way it’s going to be then it’s going to be that way for everyone, and frankly 2010 is not looking so hot for the folks holding the reins of power right now. Even with my limited understanding of the game, the same rules apply to both teams regardless of who has possession of the football. The same should be true of our politics and our country.
So let’s clarify the rules of this game right now – does the team in power get to oppress the team temporarily out of power or not? Because what happens to Rush today happens to you in 2011. The ball is in your court.