Costly risks of free speech
“Get him outta here!” shouts Donald Trump. “I’d like to punch him in the face!” he continues. “I miss the good ol’ days when people like that would be carried outta here on a stretcher!”
Ah, yes, the good ol’ days.
Back when hateful and xenophobic rhetoric was reserved for skinheads, Nazi sympathizers and bigots of specific colors and faiths.
Now we have the New American Nazi movement, and they will vehemently defend the First Amendment right to free speech, but only when they are the ones giving the speech.
But who are the protesters?
Most right wingers claim it to be the fault of leftists’ organizations, especially since they seem to be “well-coordinated, have professionally printed signs and appear to be comprised of college-aged youth and foreigners.”
Those damned foreigners; lucky for us the color of their skin gives them away in a crowd.
Yes, the protesters are all a bunch of uneducated dolts who just want free stuff and have no idea their puppet strings are being pulled by George Soros, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and, of course, President Obama.
“I’m exercising my right to free speech!”
“Well, I’m exercising my right to protest your speech!”
“You can’t do that!”
“Yes, I can, you constitutionally illiterate buffoon!”
“I know you are, but what am I?”
Back and forth it goes, where it stops, nobody — and I mean no one at all — has any flippin’ clue.
Not to sound too rhetorically redundant, but I hate the hate yet love the process that allows it to happen.
How American can it get?
Some just become so wrapped up in the emotion of the moment that they take it a step too far, and this is where we are today with annoying regularity.
In all honesty I don’t even blame Trump. The actions of his numbskull followers, while perhaps a reflection upon him and his words to a degree, are not his direct fault, no matter how much negative nonsense he spouts from the stage.
Sure, it is all eerily reminiscent of an evangelical leader or Sunni imam whipping their respective flocks into a rabid frenzy to share their particularly vile method of peace at any costs, but hey, you preach vitriol and violence, you get vitriol and violence.
As a friend of mine enjoys pointing out, there is no such thing as hate speech, only free speech that some people hate.
However, there is something much more sinister hiding behind the curtain, and we saw it in full force in Chicago last Friday.
The GOP establishment elite have so much to lose with a Trump nominee (the election for starters), I truly believe they have a strong hand in what’s occurring at Trump’s rally.
And like Nixon’s secret army in Laos and St. Reagan’s secret war in Nicaragua, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Yep, just like back in the good ol’ days.
Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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