Better East Texas: The free speech tug of war - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Better East Texas: The free speech tug of war

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) -

There has recently been a tug of war of sorts in the underground tunnels that connect key buildings in Washington D.C.

The tug of war is about a display of student created paintings that hang in the tunnel that is used by members of Congress and Capitol guests. Specifically, this is about one painting that depicts a scene from one for the recent racial struggles between law enforcement and black teenagers.

The scene depicts the police officer as a pig. The painting has been hanging in the hallway since June and is just now become the focus of lawmakers.

One congressman, Republican Duncan Hunter from California, took the painting down and delivered it to the office of Congressional Black Caucus member Democrat Lacy Clay from Missouri. Lacy promptly re-hung the painting.

Now, no doubt, this painting has a powerful message and there are more images in the painting itself that are noteworthy but the rules of the contest are that no entries would be allowed that depict "sensationalistic" subjects of "contemporary political controversy." That’s directly from the rules. This message is offensive to many in Congress, law enforcement in the Capitol and many in the general population.

And it really should be offensive to all. Proponents of keeping the painting in place state this is about free speech but the contest rules are there for a reason and the painting should be removed. There are ways to get this message across that honor freedom of speech but if we disregard some basic covenants in our society, we all take steps backwards and fruitful discussions won’t happen because of distractions like this.

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