Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 23, 2003

Robbins is angry that free speech works both ways

Isn't it amazing that Tim Robbins complains about restriction of his free speech ("`A chill wind,'" Opinion

Commentary, April 20)? Here's a man who for years has vocally and with evident impunity supported every anti-American cause, program, dictator or thug to appear on the world stage. Suddenly people actually listened to what he's been saying -- and they don't like it.

Mr. Robbins is not really whining about restrictions on his speech, but rather that those who disagree with the Tim Robbins/Susan Sarandon viewpoint are free to voice that disagreement and act upon it.

The president of baseball's Hall of Fame opted to disinvite Mr. Robbins and Ms. Sarandon from this year's induction ceremony because he felt they would be disruptive -- as Michael Moore was at the Oscars. The fact that they were disinvited is, to Mr. Robbins, an infringement of his freedom of speech.

Sorry, Mr. Robbins, but people have the right to disagree with you, to boycott any event you attend or movie you act in. They also have the right to influence the people staging those events or producing the movies.

If that gets you removed from the guest list of some event you wanted to attend because it would have provided another soapbox for your unwelcome views, that's tough.

And it's just another demonstration of the freedoms conferred by the First Amendment.

W. C. Harsanyi

Pasadena

Putting negative spin on events in Iraq

What is going on at The Sun? Why is almost a full page given to the great political mind of Tim Robbins ("`A chill wind,'" Opinion

Commentary, April 20)?

The Sun continues to print as many editorials, columns, and political cartoons as possible that put a negative spin on the legitimacy and effects of the war in Iraq. I'm surprised all the coffee cups in the editorial offices aren't spilling on the floor from the tremendous slant to the left.

The monopoly The Sun holds on printed news in Baltimore should make it more responsible to all sides. We deserve better.

Ethan Rogers

Baltimore

Fear and hatred imperil our rights

Tim Robbins' speech to the National Press Club describes well the fear and hatred poisoning our country in recent months ("`A chill wind,'" Opinion

Commentary," April 20).

Critics of the war on Iraq have been accused of endangering U.S. troops. But one wonders how strong the case for the Bush administration's pre-emptive strike doctrine can be if it is so easily threatened by the scrutiny made possible by open debate.

What endangers the troops, and the rest of us, is the erosion of our rights -- freedom of speech and assembly, the right to legal representation, due process and a speedy trial as well as freedom from illegal search and seizure. These essential components of the Bill of Rights are in the process of being fundamentally weakened by the USA Patriot Act and its proposed successor, Patriot Act II.

It is these rights, not color-coded terrorist alerts, that make our country the land of the free.

Lee Lears

Annapolis

A courageous stand against intimidation

Thank you for printing a portion of the speech by Tim Robbins to the National Press Club in Washington ("`A chill wind,' " Opinion

Commentary, April 20). I hope other newspapers and individual citizens of the United States have the courage to speak out concerning the neo-McCarthyism of this administration.

I vividly recall that frightening time. But with the level of intimidation and scare tactics being used by the Bush administration, our present period is beginning to look even worse.

Like most citizens, I understand that the fear of terrorism should mobilize us to protect ourselves -- but not at the cost of more fear and the loss of civil rights.

James E. Olsson

Baltimore

As I read the column " `A chill wind,' " my hat went off to Tim Robbins and all the men and women like him who have dared to stand up for what is right, no matter the price.

After all, we are the land of the free -- aren't we?

Corde Carter

Baltimore

Innuendo no basis for public policy

Having just read the excerpts of the recent speech by Tim Robbins, I applaud him and thank God that we have some brave Americans willing to exercise free speech in this country ("`A chill wind,'" Opinion

Commentary, April 20).

It is ironic that we have sent so many of our young to free Iraqis from tyranny and give them freedom of speech, when our current administration does so much to discourage free speech here at home.

If you speak out against the war, you risk being called a traitor or having your economic livelihood threatened. Just ask Mr. Robbins and the Dixie Chicks about that.

When Democrats question the wisdom of the administration's tax cuts that are so evidently skewed toward the rich, the administration yells that critics are engaging in class warfare.

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