I respond with amusement to the news that more than 31,400 Americans have signed a petition to have Cable News Network talk show host Piers Morgan deported. Why do the signatories want him shipped back to Great Britain? Because he has the "audacity" to passionately endorse some restrictions on gun ownership.
I would be the first to acknowledge that in a recent interview with Larry Platt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, Morgan went beyond the pale, calling the guest "an incredibly stupid man" and an "idiot." To his credit, Mr. Platt remained calm and cool, appearing dignified and refined in comparison to the host. Morgan's conduct was offensive and not something in which I would have engaged no matter how emotional the issue, but should his views and his harshness lead to deportation? Of course it should not and will not, but the fact that a significant number of citizens would express this view is troubling. It seeks to set aside all for which our nation stands, the right to express even an unpopular view in a strident manner.
I wonder how many of the 31,400 "Constitutional scholar" signatories to this petition expressed the view that Rush Limbaugh should be deported for any of his years of incendiary comments, one of the most recent being his characterization of an advocate of public funding of contraceptives as a "slut." Would these folks endorse sending conservative firebrand Ann Coulter to a desert island because she insultingly inveighed that the widows of men killed in the Sept. 11 atrocity were "enjoying their husbands' deaths?" I trust that the number of "Deport Limbaugh and Coulter" advocates among the signatories is zero.
I suppose that for some, the right to free speech extends only to the type of speech which these "sages" sanction.