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By: Darwin Campbell
Author of column series “The Black Whisperer”

One of the things that makes America great is that we can speak freely without fear of the secret police or KGB coming to arrest or intimidate you.

It is troubling to see the precedent that some right-wing and left-wing radical groups are doing to stop the free flow of ideas in our society.

From disrupting town hall meetings with state representatives, congressional leaders to entertaining new groups and ideas on our college campuses, “it’s gittin, it’s gittin, it’s gittin kinda hectic.”

Free Speech vs Free Speech?

Recently on the campus of Texas Southern University, a group of students protested and loudly disrupted the event and shouted down guest speaker State Representative Briscoe Cain, who is White.

Cain is an attorney is from Harris County and is also a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives for District 128.

The disturbances and protesting, caused TSU President Dr. Austin Lane to leave a meeting he was having with another a state senator after he received word of the situation at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

Dr. Lane went to the site of the disturbance to see State Rep. Briscoe Cain, students and faculty, and then learned that it was an unauthorized Texas Southern University student organization function.

Lane stopped the event. Part of a statement from Lane said.“Texas Southern University welcomes free speech and all viewpoints on campus as part of our collegiate experience…We welcome the return of any guest speaker for deliberative dialogue on our campus in accordance with university procedures…”

Lane went on to add that the event scheduled at Thurgood Marshall School of Law, ended early because it was not a registered university student organization event. He also stressed that the campus is open and welcoming to all state and elected officials.
Later, Cain responded to the protests in a different manner.
Earlier, Cain put out a statement blaming Black Lives Matter protesters who “came in and bullied the administration into ending” his speech.
“I think the protesters got their way with the administration,” Cain told The Texas Tribune.
Also State Sen. Borris Miles, D-Houston commented on the incident and said.”The fault is not on Briscoe Cain” for the incident…”Briscoe Cain did nothing wrong.”
Since November, disruptions of officials in public venue have been all too common.
Like in this meeting and other town hall meetings, people get whipped into an uproar and the message is lost because the opposing side never gets a fair opportunity to talk.
The First Amendment does guarantee the right of free speech to every American.
However when Black Lives Matters and others protest groups use their free speech rights and State Representative Cain and other groups make appearances to speak freely and cannot use their rights on a subject or issue, this is not how free speech works.

Why do the two differing views end up intersecting and clashing?

It’s because people don’t understand the meaning of “free speech”.

Both sides are exercising free speech and first amendment rights, but at some point the words and actions of one has to listen and yield before the conflicts with another that allow people to cross the lines and things get out of hand.

The land of the free is full of free thinking ideas that make us superb and outstanding in the areas of science, medicine, philosophy, mathematics and politics.

Freedom of Speech Backbone of Democracy

Much of our greatness as a nation is attributed to our ability to be tolerant and respectful of all ideas and ideals, even if we do not agree with a premise or political persuasion.

I don’t agree with everything I see and hear, but I will not participate in bullying another person who disagrees with me or who I don’t see eye to eye with.

Bullying A Threat and Bad for Personal Rights

Bullying is evil on the school yard, in a public meeting, on a college campus or standing outside an office or government building with the sole purpose of being disruptive and not allowing the other side of the story to be told. It is unacceptable.

People have a right to their opinion, but drowning that opinion out with childish chants and shouts and protest defeats the purpose for debate, lowers the learning curve and aids the propagation of the one-sided ignorance that appears to be running wild and rampant after the 2016 election.

Civil disobedience in one thing, but “Civil Bullying” is rude, childish, uncalled for and demonstrates the lack of fundamental understanding of civics, democracy and the healthy debate of ideas.

Heading for Animal Farm’ America

One need only read George Orwell’s Animal Farm to understand and see that one-sided, one way, only way thinking leads to Totalitarianism and Authoritarianism.

It was the “pigs” who know what was best and had all the answers, led the rebellion and later shut out and purged all the other sides, viewpoints and ideas from the other farm animals.

It is the same kind of bullying that created Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler and Chairman Mao Tse-Tueng.

Purging and punishing your opposition is not democracy, it’s lunacy!

It appears the 2016 presidential election damaged this country because we are living in an era of disrespect and lack of tolerance when it comes to listening to majority or minority viewpoints.

Nothing is ever accomplished when people are shouting, yelling one-way only and preventing an opposing view from being aired or heard. No one benefits and ignorance prevails.

Inquring minds do want to know what the other side thinks and what makes them tick.

This lack of maturity on this subject is damaging and damning to the healthy development of a democracy. I just hope we are not trapped in an eternal state of FUBAR…

Wake Up Before It’s Too Late

God Help America if we can’t get it right and we keep putting up roadblocks that impede the free flow of ideas.

We must learn how to hear out ideas from all sides. It is what makes our democracy different from others and anywhere else in the world.

I am not armchair commentator either. I can say what I do because I have served in the military and because I have been to many countries on the face of God’s earth in my lifetime.

I have witnessed how other governments work and operate while many young marchers and protesters have never set foot out of the sweet borders of Texas have no clue about what really goes on outside of the walls of the Lone Star State.

If the current trend does not change over the next generation, then the next US capital might be in Moscow or Beijing….

 

 

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