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When you’re a mayor, you don’t have Republican potholes or Democratic schools that are failing, you just have problems that you need to fix.

– U.S. Congressman David Cicilline (D-RI) on the productive virtue of non-partisanship, during the Problem Solvers Hangout, an internet video chat that was held yesterday by No Labels. Three other Problem Solver Congressmen joined Cicilline and No Labels co-founder Jonathan Miller along with several members of the No Labels community for a free exchange of ideas and a frank and honest discussion about problems, solutions, and the country’s future.

Information about the event, including video of it in its entirety, can be found here.

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I’m a little behind the curve on this, as it’s been circulating around the internet since at least the 16th, but in case you haven’t seen it, this video is worth watching for two reasons: 1) sheer entertainment value; and 2) it is a beautifully emotional snapshot of free speech at work. This may seem an odd characterization, because though it may be emotional, it is far from what anyone would picture as “beautiful.” What I mean is that in any society that holds the right of free expression dear, that holds the right of free speech to be self-evidently true, people such as this proclaiming tirades such as this are an unavoidable side effect. And though I agree with absolutely nothing that he says, and in fact find his assertions to range the gamut from ridiculous to despicable, I believe this sort of action – as crazy and annoying and lampoon-able as it might be – should be celebrated by free speech advocates. This is what it’s all about. The right of free speech wasn’t instituted to protect the conventional, the uncontroversial, the typical, the mundane, the widely-known and widely-agreed-upon. Those assertions need no protection. The right of free speech was forged of controversy, intended to protect such speech that would lead the speaker to be ridiculed, despised, lampooned, and called crazy. Were it not for this, most if not all of our renowned historical figures and leaders of change would have never been heard, for they have all been ridiculed, despised, and lampooned before they were respected. Knowing this man can say whatever he wants is how I know I can say whatever I want, or that the New York Times can, or that the NRA can, or that the ACLU can. And I believe this right protects one side of the aisle as fully and equally as the other.

This video if of conservative talk radio host and well-established right-wing conspiracy theorist – and self-described libertarian and paleoconservative – Alex Jones, espousing some high-quality Grade A crazy, in an increasingly-enraged, vituperative rant that would make Rush Limbaugh jealous. Proceed, and bear witness to that most beautiful of personages which the Bill of Rights hath wrought.

alex jones

(Credit goes to The Great Antagonizer’s blog for turning me on to this video.)

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