Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has sparked a nationwide debate about the First Amendment after saying the war against terrorism may force the United States to reexamine freedom of speech guarantees.
Gingrich, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2008, said Monday that a “different set of rules” may be needed to reduce the terrorists’ ability to use the Internet to recruit and communicate. "We need to get ahead of the curve before we actually lose a city, which I think could happen in the next decade," Gingrich said in a speech covered by the Union Leader of Manchester. The address has been widely disseminated and debated on Internet sites such as HOTSOUP.com, an issues-based social network.
“Scary,” said Badger38, a regular commentator at HOTSOUP. Gingrich’s remarks are “a bit like a speech given by Tommy Franks in 2003 in which he talked about the scrapping of the Constitution if another terrorist attack took place on U.S. soil.” A veteran who goes by the username “independentvoter” said fear should not immobilize the nation or lead to the elimination of freedoms “that millions have died for. As for me, I am a Marine (72-76; once a Marine, always a Marine). I wasn’t afraid to die for my freedoms back then and I sure as hell am not afraid to die for them today.”
In the same discussion Loop, others argued that Gingrich may have a point. “You know, he’s right,” wrote Mikekeyy. “Those freedoms just hinder those trying to protect us. Besides, if you’ve got nothing to hide, why should you care? The only ones they’re after are the terrorists.”
Some gave Gingrich credit for thinking outside the box at a time when most politicians are trapped by convention. “It is all clear cut to me folks: watch and listen intensely the next few months as Newt and all other politicians sprout objections to the way things have been run in Washington,” said Mayor Jon Tucci of Weston, W.Va.
“They know that there is a very intelligent populace like never before that has finally caught on to the shenanigans in our house. The age of mass communication and nearly-split-second information at the fingertips of the voting public demands honesty and, hopefully, integrity,” Tucci wrote. “Some of the old timers will never change, but, the savvy Newt and all like him will try and turn the plate over and uncover that twist – that niche that he and other feel will pull them up out of the murky waters to the promised throne.” Join the debate at .