Sunday, March 13, 2016

Liberal Punks Disrupting Rally Makes Trump Finally Appreciate Free Speech

During the last 48 hours Donald Trump rallies have been disrupted by protesters trying to disrupt the events.  Some of those disruptions have turned violent. 

Unfortunately this is merely an extension of a trend that began on college campuses.  Instead of college campuses being a forum where young adults can have their minds open to a plethora of ideas of all political stripes, today's liberal students fight to stop conservative ideas from even being presented for consideration.  Typical tactics are to pressure the school's administration to not invite or disinvite conservative speakers and, if those right wing speaker do make it to campus, to plant liberals in the audience to disrupt the presentation.

I have no sympathy for such tactics.  Your right to free speech does not include the right to stop others from speaking freely.  As much as I think Donald Trump is a reprehensible human being who
John "Suckerpunch" McGaw
has said many reprehensible things while running for President, Trump has a right as an American is to speak those views.    Protesters have a free right to picket the event and offer their own speech to counter Trump's views.  They do not have a free speech right to interrupt Trump's events.  I have no problem with Black Lives Matters folks and other protesters being removed from Trump's events, including forcibly if they refuse to leave.

I do note with irony though Trump's invocation of the First Amendment as protecting his right to speak. Donald Trump is the first presidential candidate in nearly 220 years to actually advocate that Americans should have their free speech rights reduced.  (Federalist John Adams was the last.)  He just recently said he wants the "actual malice" defamation standard changed so public figures like himself can drag critics into court and "win a lot of money.".  Trump has filed several SLAPP-type lawsuits to try stop those engaging in critical comments about his businesses. During the campaign, Trump has threatened to sue people and organizations that have ran negative things about him, even going so far as sending opposing candidates and Super PACs cease and desist letters.  Trump has even gone so far as have his lawyers send cease and desist letters to people selling or distributing anti-Trump t-shirts.  Apparently Trump harbors the delusion that he can use trademark/copyright laws to shut up visible signs of Trump opposition.  Uh, no.

It is good to see Trump finally recognize the First Amendment.  But while he is right and the disrupters are wrong Trump bears direct responsibility for much of the violence that has taken place during the conflicts.  Trump has encouraged violence at his rallies with such gems aimed at the protesters being removed from his rally:
"In the good old days this doesn't happen because they used to treat them very, very rough."    
"Try not to hurt him. If you do, I'll defend you in court, don't worry about it."
"Knock the crap out of them."   
"Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing,"
"I don’t know if I’ll do the fighting myself or if other people will."
"I'd like to punch him in the face."
These statements can be found on the Mashable website along with context to the quote and videos of Trump making the comments.

One 78 year older Trumpite, John McGraw did take Trump up on his suggestion sucker punching a Black Lives Matters protestor.  During an Inside Edition interview later he suggested that "next time we may have to kill him."  Police later decided to arrest McGraw for battery and making the threat.  Trump is reportedly considering paying the man's legal fees.

Even after this attack, Trump defended violence against the protesters saying:
"The audience hit back. That's what we need a little bit more of."
When the other Republican presidential candidates criticized Trump for his comments condoing violence they were immediately assailed by Trumpites on Twitter and other social media as being against free speech.   Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich though have never once suggested taking away American's free speech protection as Trump has suggested.


leon Dixon said...

I think you are way overboard in accepting an old SC decision as being in any way related to the Constitution. Free speech does not include slander, libel, lies, willful distortions of the truth. I'd still allow truth as an absolute defense, as it is in Indiana, but I can see reining in the liars of our press.

Anonymous said...

As John Russell wrote, "Words have power. You can incite a crowd to violence. Or you can be a true leader and calm people with reason, empathy and wisdom -- and transform anger into healing."

Check out what Robert Kennedy said, in Indianapolis, almost fifty years ago:
April 4, 1968: How RFK saved Indianapolis

Trump's fascist streak is a danger to himself...and others.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Leon, Trump wants to change the libel laws of this country so political critics such as you and me...not just media outlets - are more easily sued.