They are complaining of racism and divisiveness. Of fascism and intolerance. And all are quick to suggest that Donald Trump himself is to blame for the clashes of Trump supporters and protesters,
Curious that the discussion has not lead to concerns about free speech, the very cornerstone of American freedom and democracy.
Social media has been filled with rants against Trump and politicians pointing fingers at each other over the deteriorating public discourse, but I have yet to see any commentator or political leader frame the most basic issue these demonstrations present: who gets to exercise free speech in America?
“Politically correct” opponents of Trump engage in the most vile descriptions of him as a Nazi or a fascist as justification for attempts to silence him.
Few seem to remember the adage “I may disagree with what you say, but I would defend to the death your right to say it.” That sentiment exemplifies an underlying principle of American political thought and is a basis for our Constitution and Bill of Rights. It is a defining characteristic of American decency and fairness.
And it is in short supply among liberals and progressives who should know better. One would expect the troglodytes on the right to be the ones restricting others from speaking.
I am a former, and occasionally current, protester. I was part of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, I was in the streets fighting the Viet Nam war, I was savagely beaten by police, clubbed, arrested, jailed. I locked arms with Cesar Chavez. I marched with the UAW. I protested fur, vivisection, slaughter.
At no time did my comrades and I try to prevent others from speaking. The right of all to share their opinions is the cornerstone of freedom. We recognized that 45 years ago, and we recognize it today.
I am ashamed of anyone who would try to stop others from speaking or holding rallies.
Some have argued that it was Trump who postponed the rally and that he could have spoken had he wished.
That is entirely beside the point. The protesters went to the rally with the INTENT to deprive Trump the right to speak. They advertised that as the goal of the demo. They leafleted the campus asking others to join them in shutting down Trump’s rally. That he shut it down himself in the interest of preventing or provoking violence is hardly an excuse for achieving the very result intended.
Protesters cheered when the rally was cancelled. The bragged about it to the media, they have been crowing about their success online.
My take is that what they did is worse than whatever they were complaining about.
The political left seems to have elevated the idea of political correctness to a level that requires unacceptable speech to be violently opposed, or at the least, prevented.
The idea that being politically correct is more important than free speech is becoming the norm on the left. Such a position is substantially more dangerous than any free speech could possibly be. Being politically correct now approaches tyranny.
That message is far more draconian than anything Donald Trump has ever said. It borders on being evil.
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