The author of Dare to Speak wants Trump impeached for daring to speak
The classical definition of hypocrisy — murdering one's parents and pleading for clemency on the grounds of being an orphan — got a very close real-life competitor.
I'm talking of Suzanne Nossel, "the chief executive of Pen America and the author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All," to quote the credit line of her New York Times op-ed, "Don't Let Trump's Second Trial Change the First Amendment."
Ms. Nossel threads a fine needle in her op-ed: on the one hand, as "the chief executive of Pen America," she is nervous that following Trump's impeachment, the courts may start coming after the author-members of Pen America for fully expressing themselves in their work when that expression borders on incitement. On the other hand, she wants President Trump impeached based on his speech on January 6.
To a trained lawyer, this is the easy part. She explains that while Trump's speech did not violate the legal definition of incitement as outlined in the very strict, three-part Brandenburg test (she does an excellent job of it, analyzing both the speech itself and the timing of events), impeachment is not a legal, but a political proceeding. Simply put, all that is needed for impeachment is the political will, not the legally defined guilt. This is what we hear from all legal commentators, eager to disabuse us of the notion that to get impeached, the president had to violate the law and trying to prevent the public from asking the question of "which law got violated here?"
But then comes the hard part. Keep in mind that, in addition to being "the chief executive of Pen America," Nossel is also "the author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All."
"All" — in case you don't know it — is a pretty inclusive category. One can in fact reasonably argue that "all" has to include President Trump. Without him, "all" is rather less than "all."
So how can Nossel, the defender of "Free Speech for All," condemn one member of that "all" — President Trump — for "Daring to Speak"?
I'm not a lawyer, and I don't have the legal answer. But I can't possibly see what mental gymnastics — lawyerly or otherwise — can justify it. Sometimes — and the op-ed by Nossel is a glaring case — hypocrisy should be called out for what it is — "hypocrisy."