Just Because Someone Has the Constitutional Right to Do Something, Doesn’t Make What They’re Doing Right

westboro-baptist-church-protestWhen it comes to politics, there’s seemingly no short supply of things that sound great – but ultimately don’t make any sense.  They’re words or phrases that are meant to elicit a response, but when you really get right down to them, it’s mostly nonsense.

One of the sayings I often see people use is, “It’s my Constitutional right to (fill in the blank)!”  As if this suddenly justifies being ignorant about something.

You see gun advocates say this a lot.  It’s basically the argument many of these open carry jackasses use to support carrying a loaded semi-automatic assault rifle into a local chain restaurant.

It’s their Constitutional right to do so!  

Yeah, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a really stupid thing to do.

You know who else often exercises their Constitutional rights?  The Westboro Baptist Church.  Does that justify what they do?  You know, picket the funerals of dead soldiers (among other people)?

Do they have the right to do it?  Yes.  But that doesn’t make what they’re doing right.

Parents who abandon their children (deadbeat dads/moms) are exercising their Constitutional right to be horrible parents.  Does that make what they’re doing right?

The KKK has exercised their Constitutional rights for decades.  I guess that means we should proudly support their reprehensible beliefs as well.

When a husband or a wife cheats on their spouse, that’s within their Constitutional right to do so without fear of criminal prosecution (though the divorce might bite you in the ass).  Does that make their infidelity acceptable?  You know, because they’re just enjoying their Constitutional freedoms after all.

My point is, there are a lot of ignorant and disgusting things our Constitution allows.  Just because we have the right to do something, doesn’t mean we don’t have to act responsibly with that right.

I’m not saying we should restrict these rights, even as disgusting as they are.  While I vehemently oppose the Westboro Baptist Church, the KKK and deadbeat parents – that doesn’t mean I believe their rights should be taken away.

The hope with an advanced society such as ours is that even when we have the right to act like uncivilized idiots, we’ll choose not to.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Now, of course, what is or isn’t ignorant, reprehensible or disgusting is a subjective manner.  And that’s where these debates come from.  While it’s clear the majority of our society thinks someone walking into a local grocery store with a loaded AR-15 strapped on their back is an absolute idiot, they don’t believe that they are.  They just believe they’re exercising their Second Amendment rights.

But then again, neither does the Westboro Baptist Church protestor or the member of the KKK.  After all, they’re only exercising their First Amendment rights, correct?

It all comes down to the fact that while someone might have the Constitutional right to do something, that doesn’t make what they’re doing right – and it certainly doesn’t protect them from criticism or consequences for their actions.


Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • Mrs_oatmeal

    I guess our founding fathers thought we could be trusted to act civilly and responsibly. These traits are no longer valued…

  • Painted Pagliacci Of Perfidy

    The founding fathers were drunken slave owners who are 200 years more ignorant than we are today. Why anyone still pays any mind to anything they said is beyond me. Let’s evolve.

  • Stephen Barlow

    Ever since, “da FONZ” and “Barberino” became role models, AMerican standards have plummeted like the economy under General Dubya. George Carlin’s famous ‘7 dirty word’… is now seems quaint when the quality of entertainment is graded by the # of times writer’s can insert “ass’ and”bitch” into a script for prime time shows.

    And likewise, in public debates on moral legislation, the “right” to kill (SYG), abortion, gay marriage, “Patriotism”, immigration… The rhetoric of hate among the most adamant of these people, the glorification of the Limbaugh’s and BEck’s and Palin’s… BY SENATORS AND CONGRESSMAN! HOw can Ted Cruz be a birther for God’s sake????

    it has stopped being about the truth. It is now about the level of inflammatory insanity and the delight in revolting vulgarity. Like 4 year olds who show you what they are chewing.

    I too, am not only guilty, but I relish My creativity on expressing My clever opinion of other’s. It has become such a National Pastime, this abuse of ‘rights’, that what was once an America to be proud of…