Let me start off by saying, I cannot stand Ann Coulter. That said, she doesn’t really make me angry because she’s too ridiculous to take seriously. This woman is nothing more than a “troll” who, for whatever reason (money I’m sure is one of them), gets a kick out of seemingly going out of her way to say whatever she thinks will offend people.
But this is the United States, right? As Americans we’re all given the First Amendment right of free speech, am I correct?
So let the woman speak!
Yes, protesting is a valid form of free speech. But there’s a difference between protests meant to express opposition toward something or someone, and a “protest” aimed at trying to shut down and silence those with whom you disagree.
As a person who’s a staunch defender of our Constitutional rights as Americans, I defend those rights for everyone — even those I disagree with, dislike, and think are the lowest forms of “human” life walking this planet.
Of course I can’t stand Coulter’s hateful rhetoric, but I don’t want her silenced. Why would I? The best tool I have to expose exactly how horrible people like Ann Coulter are is the ignorance they volunteer on their own.
The best way to allow the world to see the true awfulness of Ann Coulter and the people who support her is by letting her say the hateful, ignorant, and disgusting things that she says. I feel the same way about Donald Trump, Sean Hannity, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, and a whole host of bottom-feeding parasites who better display the shameful values of today’s conservatives than anything anyone who opposes them can say or do ourselves.
Sad to say, but the story right now isn’t about how terrible Ann Coulter is, it’s about how ridiculous the people at Berkeley are behaving. And this isn’t just Berkeley. There’s an epidemic plaguing the left all across this country where college campuses are becoming less and less tolerant of one of the cornerstones of what makes this country great: Free Speech.
This idea that we have to somehow shelter ourselves from hateful or offensive things is unrealistic. That’s not life nor is it any way to live. A large part of our development as humans is being able to deal with a rather harsh world that’s not always fair, tolerant, sensitive, or worried about how someone feels. Being educated isn’t just about learning what’s inside of a book, it’s also about preparing yourself for life — real life. Often our successes come from the experiences we learned overcoming failure, adversity, and some of the tougher moments in our lives.
If you want to live in a bubble and pretend the world isn’t what it really is, that’s fine, go right ahead. However, once that bubble bursts, you’re going to be in a whole lot of trouble. Life’s going to knock you down, walk all over you, and there’s not going to be someone there to rush to your side, pick you up, tell you that you’re amazing, and give you a participation trophy.
What people like Coulter, Limbaugh, Hannity, and Trump want is for liberals to act like fools during these protests. They want them to show up, cause some big scene, vandalize property, and attempt to silence whoever happens to be speaking. That way they’re handed the mocking talking point of the “whiny, overly-sensitive, PC liberals who are hypocrites about their support for free speech.”
Then just as we’re seeing now, the story isn’t about what ignorant things they said, but the behavior of those who tried to silence them. When liberals act like this, all they’re doing is feeding into a negative stereotype that, like it or not, is driving voters to the Republican Party. I’ve met more than a few moderate Republicans who cite as one of their biggest issues with liberals this overly-PC nonsense that’s at the heart of what’s fueling situations like this.
If you want to protest peacefully, by all means, go for it. Don’t block roads, entrances to a venue, make threats, or try to keep the person or group you oppose from having their chance and right to speak. Standing along roads or outside the particular place where a speech is being given and expressing your right to free speech and freedom of expression is a beautiful thing. But nobody should deny someone their right to free speech by claiming they’re simply exercising theirs.
When you do that, that’s not protesting or free speech — that’s just bullying. At that point you’re not protesting a person/group/message, you’re hoping to cause enough havoc to intimidate a person or situation with the hope that by doing so you’ll get your way.
Don’t protest them, engage with them. If you oppose their message, don’t try to shut it down, offer a better one. Let their ignorance be what exposes who they are while letting your positive message be what represents you.
Or here’s a crazy idea — ignore them. As the saying goes, don’t “feed the trolls.” What someone like Coulter wants is what we’re seeing now. When she accepted this speaking gig, she knew exactly what would happen and most likely counted on it. Why do you think she’s still claiming she’s going to show up on April 27th despite the school announcing her speech was cancelled? All these people did who lost their minds over her scheduled speech was give a person they hate exactly what she wanted.
If this particular group of liberals wants to claim to be smarter than people like her, or other “rubes on the right” — then they need to start acting like it. Because guess what? Ann “Troll” Coulter just got these individuals to fall for her trap hook, line, and sinker.
You know how disappointed she would have been if it was announced that she was speaking at Berkeley and nobody cared? She’d never admit it, but that would have driven her nuts. Unfortunately, it seems too many were more than eager to give her exactly what she was hoping for.
Some folks reading this might agree with me, some might not, which is fine. But I’m a firm believer in, and supporter of, the First Amendment. That means I support the right to protest just as much as I support the right for the person/group being protested to be allowed their right to speak.
A big part of supporting free speech is being mature enough to understand that responsibilities come with supporting and defending those rights. And one of those responsibilities is understanding that no one person, or group of people, gets to determine who can or cannot exercise their Constitutionally protected right.
In my opinion, you either support free speech or you don’t. But you can’t claim you defend the right for every American to speak while trying to silence those with whom you disagree. As I said earlier, there’s a difference between the peaceful expression of your opposition of someone or some group, and an overbearing attempt to bully, intimidate, and silence those you oppose.
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