As journalists, we obviously believe in freedom of speech. We prove it day in and day out by giving our readers a forum to express their concerns, their frustrations, their hopes and dreams for a future without terror.
We also believe there is a time and a place for everything.
Sunday night, when the world was tuned into the diamond anniversary of the Academy Awards, it was definitely not the place. The days leading up to the glamfest, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made it abundantly clear to the stars that the Oscars was the forum to showcase talent, not political beliefs. And throughout the evening, stars seemed to respect the request, with only a few political statements slipping here and there.
That was until filmmaker Michael Moore was honored for best documentary. With all the subtlety of the bull in the proverbial china shop, Moore verbally attacked America's "fictitious president," who brought us to war for "fictitious reasons,"
"Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you!," Moore scolded. "And any time you've got the pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up."
For my money, Moore's rantings had the opposite effect.
I haven't always been a staunch supporter of President Bush. I don't think the reasons we're in this war are as clear as, say, when we got into World War II. Still, we are at war -- a war that's not likely to end just because some fool uses a national event to voice his opinion of the president.
Moore abused the spotlight to indulge in self-centered soap box antics, instead of paying tribute to the people who made it possible for him to be honored.
I applaud the audience members who booed, effectively drowning out the smattering of applause his rant generated.
No one wants war, but just as there is a time and place for protesting public policy, there also is a time and place for war.
We have come to that time and Iraq is the place.