Communique 8-28-2020 Die Trump Jugend
By Philip Drucker
On this day in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave what would become known as his now iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, MLK spoke directly to somewhere between 200,000-250,000 fellow protestors in attendance as part of the peaceful March on Washington For Jobs and Freedom demonstration.
MLK’s vision as expressed in the speech, a future of social and economic equality as well as the end of racism, stands as one of the most powerful, yet eloquent of orations for our time and remains an ongoing testament to the continuing necessity and vitality of our First Amendment Free Speech Rights as an indispensable and fundamental element of self-governance in a democratic society.
Participation in the “marketplace of ideas” where poorly reasoned or factually incorrect ideas (lies) are subject to challenge in the public forum requires an informed citizenry with the ability to transmit and receive truthful information. When it comes to protecting our freedom, the answer to speech you don’t like is not less speech, it is more speech.
Speech based upon actual, observable objective facts and not cherry–picked at best, often influenced by a highly emotional subjective wish list chock full of things that never were and importantly, never will be. You and I know we need the truth. Truth to combat the lies and misconceptions if not outright voluntary distortions of reality we in this age of political dishonesty as an advantage (greed is good) seem all too familiar with.
Add in a dash of logical thought and reason to the mix and next thing you know you have the makings of a democracy capable of not only self-governance, but making the best decisions for the greatest number of participants. It may not please the special interests to constantly be barraged by questions regarding the veracity of their assertions, but in America, that’s how we roll. When issued a challenge, stand and deliver! Or, in the alternative, sit down, get ready for the fact check and if necessary save it for someone who doesn’t care about the truth. Oh, and next time, try a little research before you open your American Pie-Hole.
That should be the end of it. But today, I don’t feel like celebrating our First Amendment Rights is the right thing to do. Why? Over the past several years, most notably the last three and a half, almost four, we have seen a dramatic decline in our ability to place “speech” as it is commonly known, in a category worthy of its potential to change individual lives if not move entire societies to greater heights.
We have become confused. Confused about the power of words and their ability to influence minds and move mighty mountains and molehill when necessary. We have seen the purity of effective oration give way to fake constructs based on concepts including money is “speech” corporations have a voice, and through nothing more than spending money, can “speak”. Keeping in mind a corporation has no body to incarcerate and no soul to save. Why, they don’t even have a mouth now do they? If there is a speech component involved in campaign donations, wouldn’t you agree that the initial donation of even one dollar fully expresses the viewpoint of one’s preference? How does spending more money change the speech component?
Additional donations might buy your candidate of choice additional access to a bigger audience, but it doesn’t change the underlying message. As hard as I’ve tried, I can’t find the absolute right to bury your opponent in negative advertising clause. If you give it some thought, isn’t buying and selling free speech an oxymoron? Or is Trump just a moron? Either way, that’s my opinion and I just gave it to you for free. Buying and selling? That’s commerce and not, I repeat, not speech.
What I’m getting at is when did we decide throwing even more dollars into an election process already rife with dark, darker and downright dirty contributions and expenditures a substitute for a robust, public debate on the pros and cons of the candidate of your choice? It was called Citizens’ United and it has proven to be nothing but a total disaster for our democracy. All the way with pay to play, they always say. I say make everyone get back to the basics. Get thee to a soapbox (also free) “Have at ye you yon scallywag!” Sometimes the old ways are the best.
But the lack of actual discourse in our society has led to an even greater threat to not only our civility, our ability to send and receive truth, even to the continuation of our democracy, but all the way to the endangerment of our very lives. I assure you I am not overstating the nature of this threat. It is with us and must be addressed with all the immediacy it requires. It involves the proliferation of guns under the Second Amendment and was on full display for all to see during the Kenosha, WI protests and subsequent shooting spree by a boy who I imagine never learned to use his words.
Arguments are hard to win. To sway the minds of your friends and neighbors who if you are red, blue, if you are blue, red is currently almost impossible. Frustrating to say the least. But when did grabbing an assault weapon and going on a hate based search and destroy mission to “stop” the bad guys, aka protestors, become the way to solve our differences?
When did portraying our fellow Americans exercising their First Amendment Rights as “evil” or not “real Americans” or as lawless gangs of socialists bent on anarchy and the overthrow of the I guess monarchy, become a good idea? Especially in a society that is overflowing with too many guns in the hands of too many individuals who should not have them in the first place.
Who decided that exercising your Second Amendment Rights is a legitimate way to settle what is nothing more than a legitimate political argument between two sides who do not quite see stink eye to stink eye? Or apparently, now tooth for a tooth? When did it become an act of bravery for a private citizen to bring a gun to what is almost assuredly an event where 99.9% of the participants are unarmed? Ending a potential dialogue permanently before it even has a chance to start? Surely these are the acts of cowards looking to fulfill the dreams and wishes of a madman bent on destroying our democracy any way he can. I mean, exhorting civilians to shoot civilians. How low can you go?
This is what happens when lies, money and assault rifles take the place of truthful speech to express our political views and solve our problems by not necessarily friendly exchange or discourse, but at least no one had to die for employing their First Amendment Rights to express their views during an otherwise lawful protest.
I may sound a bit alarmist, but I am waiting for someone to suggest exercising their Second Amendment Rights to open carry on a public street in the middle of the night and beyond is in fact a kind of expression or speech and subject to protection under the First Amendment.
I can hear it now. No different than burning the flag, except burning a flag never created an inherently dangerous escalation of the situation in the same way the introduction of a fire arm into a crowd of protestors would surely cause. And recently, causing two people to die. All because some dumbass 17 years-old kid is under the impression because he heard it at a rally it is acceptable to solve our differences with violence rather than reason.
And so, on this, the 57th Anniversary of one of the most articulate, hopeful and humane speeches ever given, I am left wondering why through his actions and inactions, the President of the United States has chosen to elevate the Second Amendment Rights of a teenager to near-parity with the First Amendment Rights of protestors, mostly peaceful, at a time of civil instability and unrest.
Sound familiar? Ever hear of Die Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth)? The Fuhrer’s brainwashed from the word go collection of Aryan children who were the future of the Nazi party? Might want to look that one up. I told you it was a sad day, didn’t I?