January 10, 2011
Nasty and personal
Naive nostalgia about how supposedly high-minded political debate used to be doesn't help to raise the quality of the national discourse. The language used by our Founding Fathers during election campaigns--you know, the ones who wrote and ratified the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights--was as vitriolic as anything spoken or written today. Those men knew, first hand, that there would be no need to expressly protect the right to free speech in a democracy if the majority of voters didn't find that speech expressly offensive in the first place.