Fox News talk show host Bill O'Reilly has taken aim at the town of Kent for refusing to grant a local man's wish that a town memorial to his son, who was killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, should read: "Murdered by Muslim Terrorists."
I'm down with Kent's First Selectman Ruth S. Epstein here when she rightly points out, "He can do whatever he wants on his own property".
But what Mr. Gadiel (the local man in question) wants to do is to use the collective's money - and the collective's property - to put forth his own beliefs. If Bill O'Reilly wants to come to Kent and explain to Epstein and others why that is an appropriate use of town funds, all the more power to him. It is his First Amendment right to do so, and it is Mr. Gadiel's First Amendment right to pony up the money for his own memorial, separate from the town's, on his own lawn and with his own message. But it is not within his rights to demand the town spend its money, and donate its land, for that message. And to suggest otherwise, to suggest that the individual has a right to the collective's money, for the individual's own purpose and gain, well, that seems like an idea that runs counter to most Republican philosophy when it comes to taxation.