“These walls are paper thin, and everyone hears every little sound.”
Freedom of Speech. Three major words in this country. Freedom of speech. Three words with power behind them. For every issue, every little sound, someone has an opinion, for better or worse, and everyone has the right to voice that opinion without fear of persecution.
That right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction is alive and well. Our Chicago protesters did nothing to damage that, did nothing to damage democracy. In fact, and I know I’m not alone in this belief, I would say they strengthened democracy and showed what power lies in the breaths of the people when the right is exercised. People (including/especially the media) have accepted the idea that free speech is simply allowing others to speak and not in speaking up themselves. Freedom of speech. Free speech for all. Friday night at UIC, protesters’ speech was stronger than the opposition. Power to the people or nah?
Call me crazy, but maybe if more cities across this country were as strong (and as smart and as organized and as good looking) as Chicago, Trump wouldn’t be the GOP leader right now. His campaign could’ve ended before it got started, but hate, anger, and hostility has been misdirected toward minorities instead of toward the system that has oppressed them, but I digress. Before moving an inch further though, let’s get one thing straight here: no one silenced Trump but Trump himself. His freedom of speech was not infringed upon during Friday night’s activities in Chicago. He utilized his other freedom, that of choice, and chose to remove himself from what him and his people deemed an unsafe environment, but from what it seems, “unsafe” to the Trump camp means “too many opposing viewpoints to isolate and mock and kick out.” If Trump wants to be POTUS, he might want to get used to protesters. Name me one president who hasn’t been disagreed with on multiple occasions. I’ll wait.
We all possess the freedom of speech. It’s one trait that separates us from the animals.
“It’s been agreed, the whole world stinks, so no one’s taking showers anymore.”
Democracies have been struggling for centuries with the issue of the limits, if any, to place on the expression of ideas and beliefs. The dilemma dates back at least to ancient Greece, when the Athenians, who cherished individual freedom but then turned around and prosecuted Socrates for his teachings, claiming that he had corrupted young people and insulted the gods. Everyone has a right to speak, but at the end of the day, it’s survival of the fittest. And Trump just ain’t fit for this type of fight. He thinks he can just waltz into his speaking engagements and go unchallenged, but Friday he was given a deep dish dose of his own medicine when the table was turned and Chicago’s activists said: “Get him out of here.”
UIC students embodied the activist spirit, organizing to Trump’s weaknesses while ensuring his expected anti-protester angle couldn’t be taken. They came together and voiced their opinion, something of which their predecessors would most assuredly be proud. I know I felt immense Chicago pride when I heard the news that Trump took the low road and cancelled his rally.
“I can’t be a fool for everyone that I don’t know.”
Now, if you’re keeping score at home and have found yourself confused as to how to score freedom of speech when it comes down to declaring an answer to the chicken or egg first debate, here’s a little help: Government censorship and people protesting a violent demagogue are two very different things and shouldn’t be scored in the same way. I’m not sure how these ideas got intertwined and all tangled up, but people protesting is an act as old as time. No violations of free speech there. I would actually argue that Trump censored himself, and therefore violated his own freedom of speech!
If we have any Trump supporters out there reading this, and I’d be beyond surprised if we do, this is directed at you nonetheless: Do you really want a president who can’t handle adverse conditions such as a little college campus protest? Do you think ISIS is not going to protest in some way, shape, or form? I suggest Trump supporters answer this question and then get back to me. Maybe then Trump can get back to firing people on The Apprentice instead of firing off at the mouth in a presidential race in which he has absolutely no business. There, I said it. Freedom of speech!