Chris Truax on 1st Amendment Rights & Mob Rule

October 23rd, 2018

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.


One Response to “Chris Truax on 1st Amendment Rights & Mob Rule”

  1. Mark Constable says:

    Hi Carol

    Having read through the FLASH below…here are some thoughts and info regarding the comments/text attributed to Mr. Lemon and Mr Truex

    First, I am pretty certain that:

    one’s thoughts, perceptions and beliefs are framed mostly by one’s experiences (familial, spiritual/faith based, educational/knowledge based, social, environmental etc.)
    people share different amounts of “common” experiences – so in the set of “all people” – there are those who share many common experiences – some common experiences – few or no common experiences.
    civility is easier to establish and maintain when respect and common experiences are shared – civility is most difficult to establish and maintain when respect and common experiences are not shared
    Based on personal experiences, there are three simple rules for success that I have tried to teach as an educator, coach and parent. I believe they apply to students, athletes and adults. They likely apply to Mr. Lemon and Mr. Truax as well. So for now, let’s call them “Three Simple Rules for Success and Civility”:

    TRY YOUR BEST – Being prepared, being on time, investing maximum effort, researching, investigating, utilizing resources, being focused, studying, preparing, practicing, revising, refining

    BE A GENTLEMAN / BE A LADY – Be kind, honest and truthful, be thoughtful of others, treat others with respect, “seek first to understand – then to be understood”, be caring in your thoughts, words and deeds

    MAKE GOOD CHOICES – “Think before you act”, “Don’t rush to judgement”, consider all factors, anticipate outcomes and consequences, consider other points of view (OPV)

    When we apply the Three Simple Rules to our jobs, challenges and experiences we increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. When we fail to apply the Three Simple Rules we decrease the likelihood of a successful outcome.

    I believe Mr. Lemon and Mr. Truex would do well to take some time to seek a better understanding of those they disagree with. Perhaps they could make an effort to learn more about those who have different points of view. “Seek first to understand…then to be understood.”

    Mr. Lemon and Mr. Truex both expressed a lot of emotion in their words. I wonder if they had applied the THREE SIMPLE RULES to their recent commentaries..would there have been a more civil outcome?

    A lot of food for thought – I really don’t see a “Who is right or wrong?” – However…I do see a definite NEEDS TO IMPROVE.

    Thanks for doing all that you do Carol. You inform, you challenge and you motivate! 🙂

    Best Wishes
    Mark Constable

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