Ice-T Quoted in Florida Official’s Resignation Letter
Following a Facebook argument where she took exception to an Army veteran's support of Donald Trump, Pat Edmonson, the Vice Chair of the Soil & Water Conservation District of Palm Beach County, Fla., has resigned. On the way out, she quoted the title of Ice-T's third album, The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech... Just Watch What You Say!.
In a letter sent to the local CBS affiliate and reprinted at the Sun-Sentinel, she admitted that her comments, which branded the veteran a "traitor" for supporting Trump and reportedly used profanity, were "indefensible" and "highly offensive."
But she added, "My comments have been globalized to assert that they represent my feelings towards veterans and the military; which they do not. My comments have been politicized by others to further their own agendas. Do my foolish and highly regrettable comments rise to the level of receiving death threats, does the punishment fit the crime? I will leave that question to wiser minds than mine. I made a terrible mistake."
She concluded with, “As the rapper Ice-T said nearly three decades ago when speaking about free speech in America, ‘Freedom of speech, but watch what you say.’”
Edmonson, who also lost her role as the campaign manager for a Democratic politician seeking election to the Florida House of Representatives, said that she made a private apology to the man she insulted, and that he accepted.
Released in 1989, The Iceberg/Freedom of Speech... Just Watch What You Say!'s title reflected the increased scrutiny of hip-hop lyrics in the late '80s. Its opening track, "Shut Up, Be Happy," featured Jello Biafra, the frontman for the punk band the Dead Kennedys, who had been arrested on charges of "distributing harmful material to minors" in 1986 over an H.R. Giger poster called "Penis Landscape" that was included in copies of their record Frankenchrist. During the trial, the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict, and the judge dismissed the charges.