Hey, Nancy: The First Amendment Applies to Everyone

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
Aug. 18 2010 3:30 PM

Hey, Nancy: The First Amendment Applies to Everyone

The Daily Caller has posted an interesting audio clip in which Nancy Pelosi suggests that the opposition to the Ground Zero mosque is somehow organized and needs to be "investigated" to find its source of funding. Excuse me, but what ? Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin have been carrying the biggest megaphones in this fight, and I can’t imagine that anyone is paying them to espouse an opinion that is perfectly in line with the feelings of their supporters. There was one protest a few months ago , and it was barely covered in the media. If someone is funding this opposition, they didn’t get much bang for their buck.

It is hardly at all surprising that Pelosi would try to create such a negative image of a group with which she disagrees. Last summer during Congress’ recess, when Democrats faced hostile audiences at town hall meetings on health care, she accused those opposed to health care reform of being an "Astroturf" movement and of carrying swastikas and accused them of "disrupting … civil dialogue."

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Which is funny, because there’s a very well-circulated video of Pelosi telling a group of anti-war activists who interrupted one of her own town halls, back in 2006, that "I am a fan of disruptors."

Unfortunately for Pelosi, the First Amendment applies to everyone, not just those who agree with her. It applies to anti-war activists AND anti-health care reform activists. And it applies to those who want to build a mosque near Ground Zero, and it applies to those who want to speak out against the mosque.

Rachael Larimore is a Slate senior editor.