Rocker situation indicates we are closer to supressed thought

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 8, 2000

They've been considering doing a rewrite job on the Alabama Constitution for X number of years.

They' happen to be the members of both houses of the state legislature.

And they have arrived thus far at no conclusion whatsoever relating to the overhaul of the state code, circa 1901–although they have amended many articles of that declaration.

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The same is not the case with the national Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States, which is warped and woofed at the whim of public opinion in numerous cases.

Specifically, the case concerning John Rocker has a large part of the American public in high dudgeon about remarks by the star southpaw relief pitcher of the Atlanta Braves.

If that segment of the population had its way, Rocker would not only be drawn and quartered, but he'd be banned for life from ever again plying his trade as a baseball player.

For what?

Why, for having the audacity to express his feelings about New York and New Yorkers. His expressions were labeled "racist, homophobic, and xenophobic," (xenophobic is hatred of anything foreign) netting him a suspension until May 1 accompanied by a fine of $20,000.

Shyam Das, baseball's independent arbitrator, reduced Rocker's fine to $500 and cut his suspension literally to zero and allowed him to rejoin his teammates at spring training last Thursday.

The noon report on TV three days ago noted that Rocker had joined the Braves earlier that day and had apologized for his action in making certain derogatory remarks.

The first amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically states that Congress will allow freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

The amendment (effective Dec. 15, 1791) reads as follows: Congress shall make no law respecting establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

There, that says it all, except for a couple of personal reports, the first one intoned by a friend who remarked that John Rocker puts voice to thoughts and privately held notions of millions of Americans.

The second report, inscribed in his nationally syndicated column by the late Lewis Grizzard (the modern-day Mark Twain) in which he dealt with freedom of speech as just one bugbear of our society today that is policed by the government.

The next stop, said Grizzard, in all liklihood will be the introduction of the "thought" police who'll

be empowered to arrest folks for having the temerity to think certain thoughts, should those thoughts offend the government in any way.

Lewis didn't waste time going into detail about the telepathic means that would be employed in discovering people's thoughts.

Well, we've about reached the level

envisioned by the late columnist and I, for one, feel that Das (arbitrator) has cut properly to the chase with his findings concerningh actions dealing with the Rocker situation.