On a three-lane highway, I’m happiest in the middle one, though on occasion I slide over to the left or right. In politics, too, I hug the center, sometimes siding with liberals, at others with conservatives, but always believing in the Golden Rule and a live-and-let-live philosophy. And so, I don’t understand what’s happened to the America I grew up with where people engaged with each other and agreed to disagree civilly, and sometimes even allowing themselves to be swayed to another’s point of view.
Now sides have been taken with swords drawn, and unlike the good old days, even folks like teachers and professors now voice their political views, as do reporters/journalists, too. It’s not necessarily fake news, but it sure as hell is often bent, as in the case of CNN’s Don Lemon recently. His words are quoted below, offered up by San Diego appellate lawyer Chris Truax, in his USA Today piece, “No Right to Protest Whenever, Wherever,” excerpted below.
It begins, “Don Lemon, host of CNN Tonight, had an on-air meltdown last week that culminated in this: ‘In the Constitution, you can protest whenever and wherever you want. It doesn’t tell you that you can’t do it in a restaurant, that you can’t do it on a football field. It doesn’t tell you that you can’t do it on a cable news show; you can do it wherever you want. To call people mobs because they are exercising their constitutional right is just beyond the pale.”
About that, says Truax, “The First Amendment doesn’t actually give you the right to free speech or the right to protest ‘whenever and wherever you want,’” adding later that, “You have no constitutional right to protest on private property… You have a right to speech free from governmental interference, but you do not have a right to free speech on someone else’s dime…”
He then writes about the “mob” who “ambushed” Senator Ted Cruz in a restaurant shouting, “This is a message to Ted Cruz, Brett Kavanaugh, and the rest of the racist, sexist, transphobic and homophobic right-wing scum. You are not safe. We will find you. We will expose you. We will take from you the peace you have taken from so many others.”
Truax concludes with, “There is much that is broken in our political system. Even so, we cannot restore civility and reason through intimidation and fear. Don Lemon was wrong. Calling out a mob, even if it happened to be exercising a constitutional right, is not beyond the pale. In fact, it’s the right thing—the only thing—to do.
Is he right, or are you with Mr. Lemon?
Read the whole article here.