Big Brother is ALWAYS Watching

sam_brownbackKansas governor Sam Brownback claims to believe in smaller government. And he’s a strong believer in the Constitution of the United States, including the 1st Amendment bit about free speech.So much so that he went to the trouble of inserting language in a hate speech bill to ensure that pastors in churches could continue to spew forth their hatred against gays with impunity.

So, it’s odd to see him spend tax-payer dollars monitoring what his constituents are saying about him on social networks, and that he sees fit to spend MORE tax-payer dollars reacting to what his lackeys find. Specifically, when a student on a field trip to listen to a Brownback speech tweeted something less-than-flattering about Brownback, the thin-skinned little redneck threw a temper tantrum and Brownback’s director of communication, Sherriene Jones-Sontag, told the school to “do something.” Sadly, the school (in yet another waste of tax-payer dollars) did just that: instead of commending the girl for exercising her right to free speech, the principal laid into her and told her that she needed to apologize.

So much fail here. First of all, Emma Sullivan does not need to apologize for what she said. Second of all, the school has no business censoring what she writes, says, or does as a private citizen. It is laughable when Leigh Anne Neal, the spox for the Shawnee Mission School Distrct, declares:

“In general […] students on school-sponsored field trips, in which they are representing the school, would be expected to conduct themselves in accordance with school district policies, including use of electronic devices.”

She seems to be claiming that the problem was with Sullivan using “an electronic device” — but I can’t imagine the school district or the governor would have been all up in her face if she’d tweeted “OMG, Brownback is wonderful #suckinguptoauthority”. Clearly, the problem was with the content of her tweet. And there is just no way you can have a school policy stating “you can only say flattering things about elected politicians on social networks” — it just doesn’t work that way in a country where free speech is (at least in theory) still allowed.

It’s delicious to see this backfire on Brownback in the worst possible way, and hopefully the pathetic administrators at the school district will be smarting from their embarrassing knee-jerk willingness to carry water for a hypocrite instead of standing behind their student’s constitutional right to free speech.