By Deane Waldman, MD MBA - 10/14/20
Do Americans still have the right to speak their minds freely as guaranteed by the First Amendment? Apparently not, as one 19-year-old can attest.
Newly professional bike racer Quinn Simmons lost his job when he supported President Trump with one word. A Dutch journalist, Jose Been, had tweeted that he hopes "this horrible presidency ends for you [referring to Americans], adding, "if you follow me and support Trump, you can go." Cyclist Simmons tweeted back, "Bye." Officials of cycling team, Trek-Segafredo, fired Simmons claiming his tweet was "divisive, incendiary, and detrimental to the team." When a different tweet accused Simmons of being "a Trumper," he replied with a picture of the American flag. Apparently, this added to the incendiary and divisive nature of his speech.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was intentionally placed at the top of the list of fundamental American rights. The founding fathers thought the most important right was to protect our freedom to communicate from over-reach by a federal government.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Every American should know this Amendment by heart and abide by it.
Progressives certainly know it, but they do not abide by it. They "abridge" (curtail) the freedom of speech of anyone with a different view, especially those who support President Trump. Progressive radicals, calling themselves liberals, in positions of authority or with media presence, such as broadcasters and Hollywood celebrities, may speak freely and falsely against President Trump. Dissenters cannot. Furthermore, progressives believe they are free to incite to sedition, violence, riot, and looting, even though such speech and actions are illegal.
U.S. Code, Title 18, Chapter 115 includes the following language. "If two or more persons ... conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both." Not only did both Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa conspire as above, they did overthrew legally constituted government authority in the CHAZ renamed CHOP in Seattle. This is a clear violation of Chapter 115.
While the left and its complicit media attack President Trump freely without consequence, often using provably false accusations, supporters of the president are prevented from speaking out by Big Brother left-leaning mainstream media including print, online venues, and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Only one form of speech is considered acceptable: politically correct, orthodox progressive groupthink. If you question climate apocalypse or dispute systemic racism and insensitivity, and if you dare to support President Trump, you must remain silent ... or else.
Suppression of free speech starts in our schools. Universities that create free speech zones by this very act admit that speech is not free elsewhere on campus. Progressive indoctrination can start in elementary school. The six-year old daughter of a neighbor reported to her father that her first-grade public school class just had a unit devoted to BLM, an overtly Marxist, revolutionary organization. Incensed, he went to the school, confirmed her report with the school officials, and learned the school had no unit on the U.S. Constitution. His complaint about their anti-American curriculum on deaf ears.
The First Amendment guarantees more than just free oral speech. It protects freedom of expression in any form, from painting, sculpture, and writing to costuming and performance art. My alma mater, Yale, became an epicenter of "unfree" speech when the administration prohibited wearing certain Halloween costumes, like Native American headdress, calling them culturally insensitive.
When two non-Hispanic women opened a burrito cart in Portland, Oregon, they were forced to close their business because of accusations of cultural appropriation. The same thing happened in New York City when white nutritionist, Arielle Haspel, opened a Chinese restaurant and then had to close because, apparently, only Chinese individuals are allowed to operate Chinese restaurants. Otherwise, it is cultural appropriation.
Last week, I received an email from Barnes & Noble booksellers that claimed it was a "Our Curated List of Essential Election Reading." Naturally, I expected a list of readings that explore various aspects of pre-election controversies such as entitlement versus personal responsibility, relationship of individual to government, capitalism versus socialism, identity politics versus American founding principles, and freedom of speech versus cultural sensitivity. What I received was an advertisement for progressive books: Greta Thunberg's evidence-free end-of-the-world warning and "Winning the Green New Deal," but not evidence-packed Shellenberger's "Apocalyse Never"; a section on Black Lives Matter & Race Inequality without any books on American history; and nothing on healthcare addressing why our system is failing or ways to fix it.
The list was "curated" to advance progressive ideology and its agenda, not to encourage thinking for ourselves by observing the free speech (in this case, writing) of opposing views.
Progressives feel free to attack those who with different opinions, even when they are not speaking. GOP Senator Rand Paul was harassed while having dinner with his wife at a California restaurant simply because he is a conservative. State Senator Tim Carpenter was "punched and kicked in the head, neck and ribs" when he started filming a group of "peaceful protesters" who were destroying property around the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin.
Only progressive, radical leftist speech is permissible in the U.S. in 2020. Dissenting, conservative, pro-American-dare I write "patriotic"?-communication is actively suppressed. Those holding such views are attacked. Are today's Democrats the new Brown Shirts tasked with enforcing politically correct, progressive thought, speech, and living?
It is incumbent on We the People to restore an atmosphere of respectful dialogue, free exchange of differing views, evidence-based speech, and active listening that founded our great nation. Otherwise, we will return to the tyranny of acceptable thought, acceptable word, and acceptable act, and the Bill of Rights will become unacceptable.
Why Read This Article:
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was intentionally placed at the top of the list of fundamental American rights.
By Deane Waldman, MD, MBA, author of "Curing the Cancer in U.S. Healthcare"
Professor Emeritus of Pediatric, Pathology, and Decision Science; former Director of Center for Healthcare Policy at Texas Public Policy Foundation; and author of award-winning, "Curing the Cancer in U.S. Healthcare: StatesCare and Market-Based Medicine."
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