Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Wed, Nov 03 2004

Free Speech, Except For Celebrities?

I needed to put in my two cents' worth concerning a bit of buzz about the supposed fairly new blog of someone in the entertainment industry. Gossip maintains that the famous person is posting political writings without mentioning their own name or their "celebrity" status. I've read several snippy comments from folks who have a definite negative attitude when it comes to someone they call a celebrity expressing political views. Unfortunately, these are some of the same citizens who would fiercely defend the right of free speech in America. It's that same old mirror we've each bumped into when attempting to put our principles into practice. Can we walk the walk as well as talk the talk?

I don't know whether the blog in question is written by a celebrity or by a person who is not so well known. We're all celebrities in our own sphere of influence anyway. It's all relative. What I do know is that free speech has to be for each of us, or it isn't really very free. If you don't like someone's blog you can just move on to another. But saying that a person should just "shut up" and that he or she has no business voicing political opinions because he or she happens to be a little more famous than the speaker says a whole lot more about the speaker's lack of character than it does that of the "celebrity" in question.

posted at: 15:26 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

After The Polls Closed

I'm sure the exact procedure for closing the polls varies from place to place, but I wanted to say this about my experience at our polling place. After the polls closed last night, we had to follow a checklist that instructed us on how to pack all the used and unused election materials and how to prepare the ballots for return to the election office. The ballots have to be removed from the ballot box, stacked and turned a certain way and then packed into a simple, oblong cardboard box.

That doesn't sound very exciting after all the excitement. The voters had all gone home to dinner and were probably watching election return coverage on TV. The door to our polling place had been locked. It was a rather small room at an elementary school, and at times the noise level had been so high that we'd been using sign language to communicate with one another. The line of voters had been backed up out the door several times throughout the day. We'd heard many different accents and we'd seen many different facial features. We had answered some questions a hundred times. People of varying ages and sizes and ethnic backgrounds had come and gone. We'd been so busy that all we had for dinner was a shared bag of Fritos and a shared package of Oreo cookies.

But then things got quiet, as we sat around a table. The box of ballots was packed. I experienced something I think I would describe as introspective patriotism, as we each signed our names on a long strip of white adhesive tape and then watched our local inspector wrap that same tape around the oblong box to seal it with those ballots that represented hundreds of precious individuals' choices.

Democracy may not work perfectly every time, at every level, every day. But late last night I think those of us in that quiet room knew we'd each had a chance to spend one day working to advance Democracy for one district of participating voters. Did I mention that yesterday was also my birthday? I had quite a different kind of birthday, eating Fritos and Oreo cookies and helping voters vote. The gift was living in a free country where I could choose to do just that.

posted at: 08:58 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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