Buried deep in the steaming pile of shit we wade through every day, among the threats to our lives and livelihoods and the other abuses of power and petty squabbles, are important tidbits that I don’t think enough people are connecting because, let’s face it, we’re tired of wallowing in this shit every day. Still, we have no choice. Most of us, as not white/straight/cis/wealthy/Christian men, have no choice; we live this, the racism, the sexism, the hate, and the fear. We’re already waste-deep in it so we might as well keep going through. We will get to the other side.
I wrote about this just this morning. Literally. I was and am frustrated that people ignored the hugely important message at the foundation of Mike Pence’s abhorrent stunt at the Colt’s game this past Sunday. He abused his power in a most egregious way; he used his office as Vice-President to break his oath to the American people and suppress (rather than defend) our right to freedom of speech. This is some fascist shit here, and people aren’t talking about it. As an American, I view this as one step below getting my country involved in nuclear war (which I am aware is also in the works).
It’s THAT big. It’s THAT bad.
This stuff, and it’s seeping in all around, might seem like little things when viewed from above the steaming heap. You almost have to be an American who understands just how enormously important and precious our First Amendment rights are and what we have to lose to see them. Almost.
Yes, I’m being facetious. If you don’t see this stuff and aren’t freaking the fuck out, doing your part to help protect your rights, you deserve to lose every right our veterans bled and died to protect for you.
“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.” – First Amendment to the Constitution
I’ve written on this before, but I’m going to share a few more of the puzzle pieces in one place in the hope that others will see the picture and comprehend the magnitude, the importance in a democracy. I want everyone to notice these things because I feel right now like I’m the only one who can see it.
This is a real story from today (probably will be from “yesterday” by the time I post this): “A college professor criticized Trump. Now the White House wants an investigation” – by Charlie May at Salon. This one might as well have flashing red and yellow warning lights all around it.
I won’t even bother with all the times 45 has whined in tweets or in speeches about “fake news” because the media doesn’t report what he wants them to. He has actual fake news like Breitbart and Fox working for him (I read where even his boss’ RT doesn’t support him), but reputable news sources, for the most part, are back to doing actual reporting using actual facts. 45 hates this so he chips away at our rights with his “fake news” and “dishonest media” cracks. Fortunately for him, some of his followers are stupid enough to believe what he tells them. The wannabe tyrant has brainwashed them to the point that they won’t believe facts right in front of their faces. They vote, people. At this point, I worry that they’ll be the ones to hand our gift-wrapped First Amendment rights over to their favorite tyrant. And we’re letting them every time we let one of his shitty “fake news” cracks pass.
Too many people are taking too much for granted here.
Don’t talk about guns or racism, and certainly don’t say anything about Dear Leader, or as Tillerson calls him, the “fucking moron.” I was probably supposed to capitalize that. Oh well.
Today: “Why Do Mainstream Pundits Keep Getting Student Protest So Wrong?” – by Noah Berlatsky at Pacific Standard. This one needs flashing lights and sirens around it, too, because it includes the mass arrests of protesters at the inauguration as well as the DOJ’s attempts to seize IP addresses of Americans who visited a resistance website. This alone brings tears to my eyes. Literally.
Here’s a good one from Friday: “University of Wisconsin approves protest punishment policy” – by Todd Richmond of APNews. I know, right?! Colleges have no right to limit students’ free speech. And yet, they’re doing it, and we’re not freaking the fuck out. Well, obviously, I am. Why isn’t everyone?
Earlier this year: “Arizona Republicans Want To Prosecute Protesters The Same Way They Do Terrorists” – by Ryan Grenoble at HuffPost. Republicans want to punish people for exercising their First Amendment Rights. Some states are even working on allowing people to run over protesters with their cars. This is happening in the United States in the year 2017.
The latest on 45 being angry with Corker for speaking up: “Trump escalates feud with Corker” – by Dan Merica at CNN.
Also today: “Donald Trump’s war with ESPN and Jemele Hill, explained” – by German Lopez at Vox. The president really, really doesn’t like it when people point out that he’s incompetent, ignorant, dangerous, a racist, a sexist, a fraud, a liar. . . and yet somehow he’s fine if you point out that he’s a sexual predator. Go figure.
From September: “White House officials say NFL players should shut up: ‘They can do free speech on their own time’” – by Judd Legum and Yvette Cabrera at Think Progress. He’s abusing his power over private citizens, calling for people like Jemele Hill and Colin Kaepernick to be silenced or fired, insulting leaders to incite war, messing with the stock market, and we do . . . nothing?
Remember Ted “Why Am I Persecuted” Cruz, who still has a position of power, talking about censorship on the internet? Remember when Ben Carson, the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, said he would use the Education Department to monitor colleges for classroom bias? How about the current administration’s attitudes on facts and science? How about our own government removing information we have a right to access on science, climate change, LGBTQ rights, etc. from official web sites? We paid for that research.
A couple of weeks ago: “Trump Blocks Twitter Users Who Criticize Him, Admits White House In Free Speech Lawsuit” – by Emma Woollacott at Forbes.
“The 15 Warnings Signs Of Impending Tyranny” – by Robert Reich for Huffpost.
This is not a gaffe from a politician, an isolated incident. They know it’s wrong. Tillerson says the president doesn’t speak for the U.S., but here’s the thing: he does. Even when he’s wrong, and that is the vast majority of the time with the current president, he speaks for the U.S. These are just a few examples of the executive branch and the GOP abusing their power and suppressing free speech. Unlike the reporter who got a teensy bit of justice after being assaulted for asking a politician a question (in June), nothing is stopping these people from trampling our rights until they are no more than crumbs in an old history book that will probably be burned for being blasphemous or something crazy.
This isn’t about one mistake or one intentional (though big) stunt to disrespect and silence a group, to infringe on people’s rights at a football game. This is a representative list of evidence and incidents. It’s far from complete, but it should help even those trying to ignore it see that we are under attack by our own government. They intend to erode our First Amendment freedoms until our freedoms are no more. And they hope we’ll stop fighting back. Then they can take more rights away.
They are trying with each stunt to wear us down and wear us out. If we do that, if we give up, all is lost for dissent is essential in a democracy. Free speech is a cornerstone for a free society.
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” – George Orwell, 1984
I want to scream this from the hills. I want to grab people and shake them and demand the answers to “Can’t you see this heinous thing they’re doing? Why don’t you care? This is huge! Without free speech and press we have nothing! Are you going to let them do this to us?! to take this from us?!”
I will not go down without a fight, but I can’t do this alone.
I can’t grab people (only white men can do that with no consequences) – not that I really would – so instead I write this post, and I wish with all my heart that you read it all, that you understand it and my urgency, that you see what is happening. And I am begging you to stand with me, to speak up for you, for me, for ALL Americans. And don’t ever sit back down.
This is for all the marbles.
(Presidential tweet hours after this post. I couldn’t not edit to include it.)
Link: “A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America” – by Terry Gross at NPR
Link: “Student arrested in fatal shooting of police officer at Texas college” – by Alex Dobuzinskis at Reuters (because more guns!)
Link: Times Of Universal Deceit – by E. Brooks at Gray Matters
Link: Abuse of Power – by E. Brooks at Gray Matters
Link to original tweet from 45.
Link to a good thread from LiberalBookwormJim.
Edited on publish date to include 45’s Tweet threatening free press and link to Noah Berlatsky article.
#SuppressionOfDissent #FreePress #FreeSpeech #FirstAmendment