Arizona cyberbully legislation tries to ban the sacred right to be annoying

Cyberbully law bans offensive or annoying speech, which is the whole point of the Constitution


Arizona legislators aren't ignorant because they don't read Mencken, of course.

Forget speaking English; learn to talk like an American

They're negligent because they don't read the language in the laws they pass. They're wrong to assume they can eliminate bullying or unpleasantness by telling people not to say things that might be offensive.

They're ignorant because they don't understand the difference between speaking English and talking like an American.

One they can measure by listening for accents and testing vocabulary.

The other requires courage, not only to speak your mind, but to understand the reasons you believe what you do, question whether your beliefs should be imposed on other people and, hardest of all, actually listen to what other people have to say even when they don't agree with you. Even when you're annoyed or offended by their beliefs.

That's how the marketplace of ideas is supposed to work. That's the goal the founders tried to write into the Constitution.

It's what Arizona has tried to ban, in schools, on the telephone and across the Internet.

It's more than a sloppy reading of a poorly written law. It's a violation of the most fundamental responsibilities of being an American.

Speaking English? Easy. Talking like an American, and listening when others do the same? Not so easy. Especially in Arizona.

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