On Tuesday, during his second stop on a grueling 10-day, nine nation blitz, new Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech in Germany to an audience primarily of college students. He defended the freedoms enjoyed by Americans under the Constitution.
Kerry talked about how freedom of speech allows people in the US to say whatever they want about the government and each other. How they can walk in parades carrying signs scribbled with insults against anything and anyone they don’t agree with, including the president.
Kerry, who spent time in Berlin as a child when his American-diplomat father was posted there, was quoted in this Politico report:
The reason is, that's freedom, freedom of speech. In America you have a right to be stupid — if you want to be. And you have a right to be disconnected to somebody else if you want to be.
The secretary went on to explain that American society believes in freedom of religion and religious tolerance of all faiths. He knows that some cultures probably don’t understand why the US Supreme Court allows varying degrees of civil provocation in protests that malign one another.
"And we tolerate it,” said Kerry. “We somehow make it through that. Now, I think that's a virtue. I think that's something worth fighting for. The important thing is to have the tolerance to say, you know, you can have a different point of view."
According to an msn.com news report, Kerry had just come from London, which was his first stop on the tour during a time when the Obama administration started reconsidering the idea of arming the resistance in Syria.
The report said: “Kerry is eager to discuss new ways of convincing Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down and usher in a democratic transition in the country that has been wracked by increasing violence that has killed at least 70,000 people.”
Kerry was sparse on details, but a Wednesday mention on CNN said the administration has been mulling the idea of providing military weapons, vehicles and training to Syrian rebels.
From Germany, Kerry will visit a few more standard Western allies in France and Italy, then on to Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Sources claim he will not only focus on Syria and the dangers being posed by Iran’s nuclear saber rattling, but also the conflicts in Afghanistan and Mali.
To see Kerry’s “you have the right to be stupid" speech click here.
Jean Williams, environmental and political journalist; PrairieDogPress writer; Artistic Director, Keystone Prairie Dogs.***PrairieDogPress is the media channel for keystone-prairie-dogs.com, which is a fundraising website to support environmental groups for extraordinary efforts to protect Great Plains habitat and prairie dogs in the wild. PDP uses humorous images, social commentary and serious-minded political reports to challenge government on numerous levels, including accountability to the people, the protection of threatened species, the environment and Earth’s natural resources.