Skip to main content /POLITICS

AIRS: Weeknights 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT
In the Crossfire

Straight talk about trash-talk

Begala encourages teens: Rebel by cursing

(CNN) -- Two Pittsburgh-area police departments are putting people into jail for being "dirty mouths" -- for using off-color language.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is going to court against the cops to protect "dirty" speech.

What does trash-talking say about America's values?

Stepping into the "Crossfire" with hosts Paul Begala and Robert Novak are Vic Walczak, executive director of the ACLU's Pittsburgh chapter, and Mike Gallagher, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host with the Salem Radio Network.

NOVAK: Isn't It the decline of values in language that's ... poisoning America?

WALCZAK: Look, (neither) the ACLU nor I necessarily condones profane speech. I'm trying to raise children, and I'm working to discourage them from using it. But it's different when you pass a law that says that the police can throw you in jail simply because you utter a profanity.

And a couple of points that Mike makes: One, the ACLU does not hate the police. I've personally represented more than 20 police officers. When police officers' rights are violated, including their free-speech rights, the ACLU is the first to come to their aid.

GALLAGHER: Well, then, if you've represented 20 police officers, how many people have you represented who have sued the police? I bet it's a lot more than that.

WALCZAK: It is a lot more than that, to be honest.

BEGALA: Let me get you back on the point of cursing. I disagree with Mr. Walczak on this, Mike Gallagher. He said nobody condones cursing -- you're looking at him. I condone it. I think it's great.

GALLAGHER: I know. You guys...

BEGALA: If there are teen-agers watching, I'm encouraging you to take up cursing. Here's why. It won't kill you like cigarettes. Kids want to rebel, OK? Cursing doesn't kill you like cigarettes; it doesn't rot your brain like drugs and alcohol; it doesn't scar you permanently like tattoos; it doesn't hurt like a body piercing; and it pisses off grown-ups. So, kids, start cussing today. It's the most acceptable form of youthful rebellion.

GALLAGHER: Nice. As a parent of teen-agers, I would implore every teen-ager in America who may be watching this -- as a parent of a couple of twin boys who are 19 -- don't listen to Begala. He learned at the knee of the master. We all know that the leftists like Clinton and Carville and Begala and the ACLU...

BEGALA: Clinton, believe me ...

GALLAGHER: ... they're a bunch of trash-talkers who don't mind dirty words. Do the right thing, kids. Refrain from the nasty language and don't listen to this Begala. He's an evil influence.

BEGALA: Or President George W. Bush, who...

NOVAK: I don't want to be on his side, but wouldn't you say that if he cursed, that would be the least sinful thing that Bill Clinton ever did?

GALLAGHER: Thank you. Exactly. I wish that's all he was doing, Bob, was cursing. Unfortunately, he was chasing people around with cigars.




Back to the top