As a writer, I’m a huge promoter of free speech. The right to express opinions and conduct critical analysis about the world around us is essential to the advancement of modern culture. It leads to productive debate, questions norms, as well as technological, political, and social innovations. Speaking freely is one of the most important cornerstones on which the United States was built.
Donald Trump poses a threat to that cornerstone. Rather, Trump has gone even further. He’s threatening to tear down the whole building.
Trump has been vocal about banning people who do not agree with him. He kicks protesters out of his rallies and more often than not, getting ejected from a Trump rally is accompanied with threats of violence. Trump once even offered to pay the legal bills of any supporter who “knocked the hell out” of protesters. Trump’s message is strong; if you disagree with him and are vocal about it, the “silent majority” will beat you down.This is the kind of ‘sit down and shut up’ regime that could end the right to free speech in the USA.
Most recently, Trump has alluded to an assassination of the most powerful voice that critiques him; Hillary Clinton. He referenced “the second Amendment people” specifically, encouraging them that there’s “something [they] can do” if Clinton ascends to power and picks a nominee for the Supreme Court.
Trump’s has taken his threat to free speech even farther; AGREE WITH ME AND IF YOU DON’T, YOU SHOULD BE KILLED. This is no way for a presidential candidate to behave, nor is it a way for the country to progress.
His ban of major news outlets from Trump events is just another example of his attempt to crack down on free speech. Buzzfeed, Univision, The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post are just a few of the major news outlets who have been banned. Trump’s reason for the ban? The media isn’t portraying him correctly. They’re biased in their portrayal of the Republican nominee. Trump has even threatened to skip debates if he deems the moderators, who are often journalists, to be ‘unfair’.
As a candidate for the greatest political office in the country, Trump’s refusal to take part in critique, criticism, and debate are cause for great concern. If Trump will do everything in his power to shut down opposing viewpoints now, what will he do in office? Ban all news outlets who have ever run a defamatory story against him?
AMERICA COULD BE ENTERING INTO AN ERA OF NORTH KOREA – LIKE POLITICAL NEWS COVERAGE IF TRUMP COMES TO POWER.
On July 27th, Trump took part in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” (AMA for those in the know) thread. The Reddit community was ablaze with the news, preparing for the best, the worst and many, many trolls. Upon looking at the thread, however, the whole thing seems pretty tame. There are not hateful comments, messages or memes aimed towards Trump. Even Trump’s replies to various questions from Reddit users were toned down from his usually inflammatory online presence.
Shortly after the AMA, it was released that only Trump-positive comments were approved by moderators, as well as 2,200 accounts banned from posting any questions at all.
Although Reddit is just a small section of the internet community, it’s another channel in which Trump was able to shut down open dialogue. When he consistently shuts down critical questions, Trump proves that he is not able to defend himself or his policies.His team works to silence those who oppose him.
THAT’S NOT FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND THAT’S DEFINITELY NOT AMERICA.
Our country was founded on each citizen’s right to liberty: including the right to free speech. Shutting down media coverage, refusing to interact with the wider American public, and threatening violence against those who disagree with him is a massive warning sign. The United States is the land of the free; we do not micromanage the lives of private citizens and we strive to provide equal opportunity for all.
Please, consider your vote carefully this election season. We can’t afford the massive mistake of putting Donald Trump in the pilot’s seat.
Published on Unwritten, August 19th, 2016.