The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/c/clinton.bill/clinton-on-hate-speech

From Wed Apr 10 13:22:38 PDT 1996
Article: 129077 of news.groups
From: (Seth Finkelstein)
Newsgroups: news.groups,alt.censorship
Subject: Re: Vote YES for RMW-P!
Followup-To: alt.censorship
Date: 10 Apr 1996 10:14:40 GMT
Organization: Massachvsetts Institvte of Technology
Lines: 123
Message-ID: <4kg1mg$jf1@senator-bedfellow.MIT.EDU>
References: <> <4iv7ra$3u1@Networking.Stanford.EDU> <4j05c5$> <4j09v5$>
Xref: news.groups:129077 alt.censorship:76663

In article <4j09v5$>, Rich Graves  wrote:
> writes:
>> (Rich Graves) wrote:
>>> writes:
>>>>Really? Then how come it was Bill Clinton, a liberal democrat, who
>>>>argued there should be laws against "hate" and "inflammatory" speech,
>>>In what fantasy world did he say this?
>>The fantasy world he addressed was one with TV cameras on him after
>>the Oklahoma City Bombing. The one where he, and members of congress,
>>argued that hate speech should be outlawed.

	This is oft-repeated right-wing utter lie. It is a total
fabrication of reactionaries. I keep the actual text of what he said
around, since so many the hate-Clinton crowd endlessly repeat this falsehood.

	Here's the actual text of President Clinton's comments regarding
free speech, hatred, and talk radio. I got this from:

Linkname: President to Association of Community Colleges

	It's a stirring, eloquent commentary on the issues. He does not
call for censorship. He does not use "responsibilty" as the all too
frequently seen code word for suppression. Rather, he fully endorses the
rights of hate-mongers to their say, but calls upon us to counteract
them - the classic free speech point of "the cure for bad speech is more
speech". Now, read his words, and compare to the descriptions given of
them by the "critics" we see even in this newsgroup. The bias, the
distortion for the purposes of hatred, is amazing. It proves President
Clinton was not only not out of line, but was in fact absolutely on target.

                             THE WHITE HOUSE
                      Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
For Immediate Release                                      April 24, 1995
                        REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                             Grand Ballroom
                       Minnesota Convention Center
                         Minneapolis, Minnesota

11:46 A.M. CDT
[Initla greetings omitted]

             Before I begin today to talk about education and training,
I'd like to say just a word or two if I might before this audience of
educators and people who believe in and appreciate the value of free
speech, about where we are in the aftermath of the Oklahoma bombing, and
what we are going to do about the kind of America our children will
[Long section about Oklahoma bombing and the rescue effort]
             I could go on and on and on.  I say to all of you, first we
must complete the rescue effort and the recovery effort.  Of course, we
must help that community rebuild.  We must arrest, convict and punish the
people who committed this terrible, terrible deed, but our responsibility
does not end there.
             In this country we cherish and guard the right of free
speech.  We know we love it when we put up with people saying things we
absolutely deplore.  And we must always be willing to defend their right
to say things we deplore to the ultimate degree.  But we hear so many
loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try
to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn
up and upset with each other.  They spread hate.  They leave the
impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable.  You
ought to see -- I'm sure you are now seeing the reports of some things
that are regularly said over the airwaves in America today.
             Well, people like that who want to share our freedoms must
know that their bitter words can have consequences, and that freedom has
endured in this country for more than two centuries because it was
coupled with an enormous sense of responsibility on the part of the
American people.
             If we are to have freedom to speak, freedom to assemble,
and, yes, the freedom to bear arms, we must have responsibility as well.
And to those of us who do not agree with the purveyors of hatred and
division, with the promoters of paranoia, I remind you that we have
freedom of speech, too.  And we have responsibilities, too.  And some of
us have not discharged our responsibilities.  It is time we all stood up
and spoke against that kind of reckless speech and behavior.  (Applause.)
             If they insist on being irresponsible with our common
liberties, then we must be all the more responsible with our liberties.
When they talk of hatred, we must stand against them.  When they talk of
violence, we must stand against them.  When they say things that are
irresponsible, that may have egregious consequences, we must call them on
it.  The exercise of their freedom of speech makes our silence all the
more unforgivable.  So exercise yours, my fellow Americans.  Our country,
our future, our way of life is at stake.  I never want to look into the
faces of another set of family members like I saw yesterday -- and you
can help to stop it.  (Applause.)
             Our democracy has endured a lot over these last 200 years,
and we are strong enough today to sort out and work through all these
angry voices.  But we owe it to our children to do our part.  Billy
Graham got a standing ovation yesterday when he said, "The spirit of our
nation will not be defeated."  I can tell by your response that that is
true.  But you must begin today.
             The little girl who read the poem yesterday at our service
said, "Remember the trust of the children.  Darkness will not have its
day."  The trust of the children is what we are here to talk about.
[Rest of speech about community colleges]

Seth Finkelstein
Disclaimer : I am not the Lorax. I speak only for myself.
(and certainly not for Project Athena, MIT, or anyone else).

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