Monday, June 1, 2009

Fools' speech is free speech too, especially for Latvian-Americans

Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems that a Chicago-area (the USA, the land of the First Amendment) emigre (or the fashionable diaspora) Latvian group supporting Ainars Šlesers for mayor of Riga has been hounded out of existence by elements of the American Latvian community. This was to a large extent triggered by a somewhat indignant story in the Latvian daily Diena, which apparently is read and respected by the diaspora 
Don't get me wrong, there is no way I support Šlesers and his theocratic, holy-roller cryptofascist Latvian First Party/dessicated corpse of the once-liberal Latvian Way (LPP/LC). But that does not mean that people don't have the right to think and say that Šlesers is the greatest fuckin' thing since machine-sliced cheese. That is what free speech and a diversity of opinion are all about. As for the American Latvian Association "distancing" itself from the pro-Šleseristas in Chi-town, well, Maryland is already pretty distant. It would have been better to say: "we make no political endorsements and urge all Latvian citizens, be they in Latvia or abroad, to vote for the candidates of their choice." (SEE AMENDMENT BELOW)  As for others who had objections to the Šleseristas -- well, organize a debate, put up a website, go to or some such place and argue against Šlesers of for one of the other candidates. Yo, like the States is a democracy and has plenty of room for wacko opinions! And if  the diasporistas really follow what is going on here, down at the grass roots, they should know that this place is a real political Wackostan. Supporting Šlesers pales beside some of the crackpottery available here.
And finally, to the lawyers Blumbergs and the grab-bag of Latvian-American accountants, public servants, salesmen etc, WTF are you so chickenshit? If you really believe in Bro Ainars, don't fold the first time the wind blows against you. Tell ALA to ... well, I am reminded of  T-shirt I saw at the American Latvian Song Festival in 1978 -- it was worn by a friend of my from Germany and his brother as a protest against an ultraconservative relative of theirs. The custom shirts said Arvīd, ej tu dirst! The best translation I can come up with is  "Arvid, go fuck yourself!" 
So guys and gals from Chi-town, come out from under the table or bed or wherever you went after the first round of criticism, and put on your Arvīd T-shirts (aimed at those diasporistas who hounded you) on the front, and a picture of the stone-faced (ķieģelpurns) Ainārs on the back.

ADDED June 2, morning, Latvian time: 
It seems that ALA did make the kind of statement I mention above, a kind reader informs. I was basing this on the Diena report, where to "distance one's self" suggests disapproval and disagreement, like when football team X says "we are glad about winning the championship, but distance ourselves from those fans who decided to burn down the town hall and 20 cars in celebration."

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