This is the sort of thing that gives queer activism a bad name. First, insofar as the author thinks that Sarah Palin has committed incitement, he is flatly wrong. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that incitement happens only when “such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” In other words, the three elements are intent, imminence, and likelihood. The “bad tendency” test has been rejected. While I have no problem with publicly expressing disagreement with Ms. Palin, we should at least be clear on what she has done and not done and on the available remedies. In this regard, the author, who refers to “those who don’t understand what words mean,” should lead by example.
Second, such columns feed into our opponents' fears that freedom is somehow a zero-sum game in which our rights can come only at the expense of theirs. Public disagreement is one thing, but calls to “shut down” someone for “hate speech” will understandably lead people to believe that their freedom of speech is at risk.