Can thoughts surrender the right to free speech?

No one cedes, surrenders, the right to speak freely because of what they think! Mr. Dick Carlile’s Letter to the Editor, entitled “Be careful what you wish for,” appearing in the January 25-26 edition of this paper, doesn’t change that one bit.

His letter was a response to a letter from Clay Cooper published in this paper earlier. Cooper is a member of the Branson Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce & CVB Board, and one of Branson’s premier entertainers. In his letter, Cooper expressed the concerns and questions of many of Branson’s shows about the way they are being marketed.

Carlile declares, “Mr. Cooper you ceded your right to ‘speak freely’ when you thought the CVB was a terrific idea.” As a ten-year U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, the gross ignorance of that statement pierced an Ole Seagull’s heart. The right of free speech, without regard to what a person thinks, or even their ignorance, was one of the reasons for his service.

Is Carlile a mind reader? Can he possibly know what Clay Cooper “thought?” While disagreeing with the way the CVB markets Branson shows, the Ole Seagull thinks that a CVB is a “terrific idea” for cities in the tourism business. Whoops, now he’s done it! Has he too lost his “right to speak freely?”

The letter states that Carlile was the “Lord and Master of all phases of advertising.” And goes on to say, “At no time did it ever occur to me that I could get a tax passed that would relieve me of that responsibility. But Mr. Cooper and the theatre owners LEAGUE in Branson evidently thought it was a good idea to shift the responsibility for their advertising cost to the tax payers.”

WOW, now he knows not only what Mr. Cooper is thinking, but the “theatre owners LEAGUE” too! That would be remarkable if it didn’t fly in the face of reality.

There are two tourism taxes in Branson.  Their purpose is to bring more tourists to Branson for the benefit of all its businesses not just shows. In the opinion of an Ole Seagull, they shift no advertising costs from individual shows to the taxpayers.

The advertising from Branson’s shows, appearing in this paper alone during Branson’s show season, testifies as to the millions of dollars of non-taxpayer funds spent to advertise and market individual Branson shows. Sir, those marketing Branson’s shows don’t seek relief from their advertising and marketing responsibilities. It’s embraced as an inherent part of their business.

He suggested that “Mr. Cooper and the theatre owners LEAGUE…Be careful what you wish for because it may come back and bite you.” Let’s substitute the word “write” for “wish” and remove the word “for.” That’s advice the “Lord and Master of all phases of advertising” should consider.

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