I got a hold of Leon Koziol's official announcement statement yesterday, and as I read through it, I find that I'm darkly amused by portrait it paints of Koziol the candidate. There's too much absurdity to address all at once, so I'll have to take Koziol's announcement on bit by bit.
Here's today's bit: Apparently, Leon Koziol regards free speech as outside of the American tradition of constitutional law.
I'm not kidding. Consider these statements from Koziol's announcement statement:
"We've allowed extremists to exploit free speech over the dignity and symbolism of the American flag."
"Dignity means an adherence to traditional notions of our constitutional rights."
Is this the stuff of thing they teach in law school these days?
Mr. Koziol, freedom of speech was put into the Bill of Rights because the Founding Fathers wanted it to be exploited. To exploit something is to use it. If we're not supposed to use our free speech rights, what good are they?
I suppose that Leon Koziol's idea is that free speech is okay, just so long as extremists don't use it. Any intelligent person can understand that a free speech that is available only to people perceived as moderates is no free speech at all. After all, who gets to decide who is an extremist and who is not? If someone like Leon Koziol were to make that decision, then anyone who supports the right of people to use the American flag as a part of a nonviolent free speech protest would be cast as an extremist, and would be deprived of free speech rights. It's kind of circular, isn't it? In this mindset, anyone who demands free speech is automatically regarded as too extreme to be allowed to have free speech. Is this Leon Koziol's vision for America? Free speech for everyone who agrees to sit down and be quiet?
I know that Mr. Koziol claims to be a super attorney with extraordinary skills of persuasion, but I'm just not buying his argument here. You see, I paid attention to social studies class when I was in high school, and to this day, I remember that America's "traditional notions of our constitutional rights" include freedom of speech, no matter how unpopular that speech is.
Maybe Leon Koziol doesn't like it when people burn American flags. That's his right, although flag burning is hardly a national crisis. Last year, only one or two protests in the United States including the burning of an American flag. Nobody in the 24th district has burned an American flag in a protest for as long as anyone can remember, if ever. So, I think it's kind of weird, and kind of pathetic, that Koziol has decided to make opposition to flag burning a major plank in his campaign for the Democratic nomination. He might as well take a stand against the growing of palm trees in Upstate New York backyard gardens.
Koziol doesn't like the rare practice of flag burning. I, on the other hand, don't particularly like mimes. I think they're annoying, with their pasty faces and little black berets. The difference between myself and Leon Koziol is that I think it ought to be legal for people to use their free speech rights to annoy me. Mr. Koziol? He just doesn't think annoying him ought to be allowed.
I haven't made an endorsement of any of the Democratic congressional candidates in the 24th district congressional race yet. I need to hear a lot more from Bruce Tytler and Michael Arcuri before I make a decision. However, after looking at the material Leon Koziol has created to promote his candidacy, I know for sure one Democratic candidate that I will not give my support to. For his dim-witted stand against free speech alone, I can now offer my hearty dis-endorsement of Koziol for Congress.