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No free speech for Chavez?

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has upset a lot of people in the U.S. by using his U.N. platform to call President Bush “el diablo.”

I’ve been watching the furor with considerable bemusement. Did we not choose to host the U.N.? The U.N.’s objectives being what they are, it was a given that at times there would be people there whose views we do not share. It is the nature of the U.N. to let everyone speak freely. So why are U.S. officials getting so bent out of shape? (It’s an election year?) We either support free speech, or we don’t. If we don’t, and we don’t like what is said at the U.N., we shouldn’t be pouring our tax dollars into supporting its headquarters here.

Did we think we could go around calling other leaders “terrorists” without provoking a response? Sticks and stones, people! Sticks and stones. They are throwing words, not bombs.

Earlier today, Fox News broadcast a telephone interview with N.Y. Governor George Pataki, and the poor man sounded absolutely apoplectic that Chavez had dared come to his state and verbally assault our president. I kept wanting to interrupt him and remind him that the U.N. is not N.Y. State and to get over it. There is just as much outrage being expressed by Democrats, and my reaction to them is the same. Chavez was speaking at the U.N. If you don’t like it, let somebody else host it.

As a footnote to those outraged by Chavez’s comments, let me suggest that your energy might be better spent examining films of his U.N. audience and noting who was supporting and encouraging him.

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"A republic, if you can keep it." -- Benjamin Franklin

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