Xavier Martinez, seen here in an army uniform, claimed to be a Marine and the recipient of the U.S. Congressional medal of honor. That might have been a hint. Both statements were lies. Martinez was charged with violating the 2005 stolen valor act which states that whoever falsely represents himself or herself, verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by congress for the Armed Forces of the United States' faces a federal misdemeanor with a fine and imprisonment up to a year. The supremes heard the case Wednesday and they'll decide whether the law violates the first amendment's free speech rights.
My take is simple: the law's unconstitutional. It's fundamentally American to puff, lie, brag, fib, embellish, prevaricate and distort the truth. It's who we are. There's a phrase, B.S. That loosely references bovine egesta, and B.S. In the U.S. is again who we are. We lie on facebook, we lie in bars, we lie as to our age, weight, abilities. Shall I go on?
When we run for office, oh, puh-leeze, lying is an olympic event. When Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut ran for U.S. Senate there was some confusion over whether he was in Vietnam like he said or merely served during the Vietnam era. It was B.S. Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch, stories given us by the government that ironically seeks to prosecute martinez, =buzz= b.S. In the case at bar, martinez never sought military benefits or claims. He just lied. It wasn't like someone claiming to be a doctor who risked people's lives, like Frank Abagnale in 'Catch Me If You Can.' And what this guy did was sick, pathetic and well, pathetic.
To play soldier, I'm sorry, Marine. A battle-hardened recipient of the congressional medal of honor. A citation that's almost god-like in my book, look that's sad and pathetic. But it's a fundamental american right under the first amendment of the constitution to lie. Again, in some cases libel, slander, certain misrepresentation, perjury under oath - that's a different story.
Now, this is the time when I'm supposed to cue the patriotic music and out schmaltz you over how I have a connection to patriotism and the flag and frankly, that makes me sick. Let's stick to the facts before us. Speech should only be limited and subject to government sanction especially imprisonment in the most limited of situations. When it is absolutely, positively necessary. When the harm that the speech provides outweighs the freedom of that speech. Comment.