The death of free speech

From the 1960s until quite recently, most Americans could freely voice their political views without fear of repercussions.  Liberals defended the right of conservatives to voice their views.  While liberals and conservatives disagreed on various economic, social, and political issues, they both knew how essential it was for the well-being of our democracy for both sides to be taken seriously.  Sadly, this genuine respect for both sides recently ended.

In 2018, Alex Jones was removed from every major social media network for his statements about Muslims.  In the years since, several other major conservatives have been censored from social media, including Paul Joseph WatsonPragerU, and Stephen Molyneux.  The censorship of conservatives culminated when Twitter permanently banned President Trump in 2021.  Just recently a famous Hollywood actress was fired for her conservative views. 

On February 10, 2021, Lucasfilm fired Gina Carano from the hit Disney+ show The Mandalorian over a political post on her social media page.  On Twitter, Carano shared a post stating, "Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors... even by children... Because history is edited, most people today don't realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their neighbors hate them simply for being Jews.  How is that any different from hating someone for their political views?"

In response to Carano's tweet, Lucasfilm said she would no longer be cast as Cara Dune, nor will she ever work with Disney in any other capacity.  Carano played the main supporting female character in The Mandalorian, Cara Dune.  She was in seven of the series's sixteen episodes.  Dune was an old friend of The Mandalorian (actor Pedro Pascal), and she helped The Mandalorian on his adventures with Grogu (Baby Yoda).  Carano is an important character, as important as Carrie Fisher was to the original trilogy.  The series will not be the same without her.

Ironically, Lucasfilm and Disney firing Carano for her political beliefs further proves that her statement is true.  Just as Jews were bullied for their religious beliefs by their neighbors in the 1930s, so Trump-supporters are bullied by leftists today.  Over the course of Donald Trump's presidency, several incidents occurred in which leftists assaulted Trump-supporters.  In December 2019, a 37-year-old man was arrested for hitting and choking a retired Navy SEAL Trump-supporter.  The victim had attended an event supporting President Trump.

In February 2020, a 34-year-old man attacked a 15-year-old boy for wearing a Trump hat outside a voting location in New Hampshire.  After the man voted, the boy told the man to "have a nice night."  The man was so distraught at the sight of a Trump-supporter that he cussed at the kid and slapped him in the face.

Recently on January 9, 2021, several members of Antifa attacked Trump-supporters and police officers in San Diego.  The Antifa members were armed with baseball bats, chemical sprays, and bottles.

There are also multiple incidents in which Trump-supporters were either suspended from school or fired from their jobs.  In 2018, an Oregon high school senior wore a pro–border wall shirt in his "People and Politics" class.  He was asked to remove the shirt or leave the school because the shirt offended multiple people. The student chose to leave the school and the school suspended him for leaving. The school later rescinded its suspension, but the harm was already done. This student was punished for supporting the president.

In 2021, following the capital protests, several Trump supporters from the Dallas area either were fired or lost their businesses for participating in the capital riots. 

Ours is now an oppressive society, with freedom of speech sadly becoming a thing of the past.  Many Trump-supporters are uncomfortable voicing their views.  America is becoming more like China, where the Big Tech giants tell everyone what to believe.  As in China, if Americans act or speak against the socialist agenda, they are censored or lose their jobs. 

This new environment has fostered a society where no one can discuss political issues.  Most conservatives are afraid to speak because of repercussions.  Due to this, we no longer have civil discourse in America.  People stay within their own political echo chambers, and few listen to the other side anymore.  It is becoming increasingly difficult for liberals to hear conservative ideas because there are few conservatives in the mainstream media.  These things have significantly divided the country. 

The longer conservatives, particularly Trump-supporters, are punished for voicing their views, the longer our society will be divided.  Evelyn Beatrice Hall summarized the traditional liberal view in 1906 by writing, "I don't agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Liberals used to believe in this.  Let us return to a time when liberals support the freedom of speech. 

Edward Kennelly is working on his Master's in Public Administration at the University of Memphis.  He has been published in the California Political News and Views and Citizens Journal.  He hopes to continue working in politics.

Image: Gina Carano.  YouTube screengrab.