LePage: Guns, freedom, and a legislature that doesn’t talk back

Photo credit: Troy R. Bennett l BDN

Gov. LePage says he is very upset about not being able to speak at a legislative work session to which he arrived without notice and about being asked for permission to display a television in Maine’s statehouse.

Invoking both the right to free speech and gun rights, the governor told journalists these events are important because, “It’s freedom of speech. You folks should understand that better than I. It is the First Amendment, then there is the Second and I love ‘em both.”

He later added, “The minute we start stifling our speech, we might as well go home, roll up our sleeves and get our guns out.” [Source]

Now, the First Amendment gives people the right to publish and to speak.

However, it has never been understood as giving people an absolute right to do either.

One doesn’t have the right to say anything, at every place.

In particular, regarding the issues about which the governor is concerned, there are long-standing rules on displays in the Hall of Flags and on who speaks at legislative work sessions.

Moreover, Gov. LePage seems less supportive of others’ free speech rights.

At an event honoring Maine students, he suggested that instead of building robots:

Next year I would like you to create a Legislature that doesn’t speak back. [Source]

What is this?

Free speech for me but not for thee? Disdain for the Maine Legislature and checks and balances? Or just a logical contradiction?

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.