The First Amendment: For Me not Thee
By: Carl Laning
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
― George Orwell
“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
― United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
As many of you know President Trump, as well as a number of his supporters and associates, have been banned permanently from Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Alternate social media platforms, such as Parler, have been kicked off Amazon’s servers and had their app removed from Google Play and the Apple App Store because, the tech giants say, they disapprove of the smaller providers “moderation policies”. Another way of saying “you better get in line or else” in truth I suspect. I taught history and government for 30 years and you are witnessing THE WORST ABUSE OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT in 100 years. (President Woodrow Wilson’s Sedition Act of 1918)
I humbly ask…Who authorized Amazon, Google, Facebook/Twitter and Apple to be the arbiters of what is acceptable speech? Further, why do their rules seem to be one-sided and arbitrary? These are corporate entities and certainly have the ability to set rules regarding their platforms. However, I submit the following who have not been censured in any way and certainly not banned…
——Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) told everyone to beware last summer: the riots of the last three months are not going to stop now or after Election Day. Moreover, they should not stop. Not banned.
——in reference to this past summer’s riots, Former Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch called for supporters to march, bleed and die in the streets to resist Trump. Not banned.
——Trump Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was denied service at a Washington, D.C. restaurant. Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) encouraged her supporters to harass administration officials. “Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store at a gasoline station you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore anywhere.” Not banned.
——Obama referred to his grandmother as a “typical white person” who had fears about black men. Then he characterized his political opponents as “bitter clingers” to their guns and Bibles. Not banned.
——Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton described Trump supporters as “a basket of deplorables”. Not banned.
——Representative Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) has also called for Antifa/BLM unrest in the streets to pressure GOP officials who support the president. The other members of the ‘Squad’ have also supported the rioters, going so far as pushing a fund to provide them with bail. Not banned.
——Chinese Communist Party officials are allowed to defend on Twitter the genocide of Uighur Muslims in western China. Not banned
——Bad actors around the world such as Iran, Hamas and North Korea routinely spread falsehoods regarding the United States. Not banned.
President Trump, at his rally on the 6th, told his supporters they should march on the Capitol, no more. Banned.
No matter your political persuasion these actions by big tech and others to throttle freedom of speech should frighten you. Who’s next?
Carl Lanning is the Khits’ News Director and a retired educator with 30 years of experience as a history & government teacher.