In a time when orange spray tanned real estate moguls and finely powdered corrupt war hawks are vying for the most powerful position on earth, where is the left? After a shameful performance whereby old school democrats and apathetic youth alike allowed Hillary to triumph over one of the least corrupt and most virtuous candidates ever to run for president, they seem absent from politics.
Instead the left has fixated on social justice and escalated the issue to absurd levels. American schools of higher learning have been bombarded by pushes for safe spaces and protection from micro aggressions to the point where many comedians refuse to perform on college campuses. At one point college was indeed a safe space, a place for ideas to be shared and discussed without offense and backlash. Thankfully academia is beginning to fight back. This semester, a number of prestigious institutions of higher learning issued campus wide newsletters informing students that the first amendment would indeed be held up at their schools. This is progress, but it won’t fix the systemic issue.
Many of the most outspoken and loudest voices on the left seem to be taking on important issues like income inequality, institutional racism, and restrictions on the second amendment, while giving little credence to the first. It’s not as if the candidates are steering clear of the free speech issue. Donald trump promised recently that if he was elected he would “Open up our libel laws so when they (journalists) write purposefully negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We’re going to open those libel laws so when the New York Times writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they are totally protected.” These are not idle threats as some in Mr Trump’s staff would like is to believe.
Freedom of speech is what makes this country unique and it is deeply rooted in the founding of America. The words of the late, great crusader of free speech Christopher Hitchens, who came to this country partly to escape the libel laws in England, come to mind. “Where exactly do you get your news?”