Becoming a nation of cowards?
Originally published on May 13, 2014. Updated.
Throughout American history, our nation has prided itself on its tolerance. Tolerance of different faiths, cultures, ideas, races. Our ancestors fought the American Revolution because they would not tolerate “taxation without representation” and other transgressions against them by the mother country. A Civil War was fought because Americans could no longer tolerate man enslaving man because of skin color.
Fast forward to 2014, and we still have our national tolerance. We tolerate bullies. We tolerate activist minorities who spew their own brand of hatred and intolerance in the name of cultural diversity. We tolerate the eviscerating of our Constitutional 1st Amendment rights as citizens by governments and institutions. We’re becoming a nation of cowards as we sit silently by and watch, read, and listen to people, whether famous or not so famous, become victims of the American version of Socialism.
Socialism or Fascism. Those who lived under it recognize shades of it here. Sadly, the term is being heard and used more frequently these days, whether by national journalists or ordinary Americans. Some Americans will argue that it can’t happen here. It’s over-reaction to cultural modernity by socially-challenged neanderthals. Those Americans who hold that view need to take a long, hard look at some facts and not be dismissive that they’re the product of right-wing paranoia.
Several recent high profile examples of repression of speech and dissenting views have been seen through Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. In the case of Ms. Hirsi Ali, only 86 of the 350 faculty members at Brandeis signed the letter denouncing her and demanding her removal from the honored recipients list. Yet, university leadership caved to pressure groups such as CAIR, the same activist group instrumental in procuring the Obama Adminstration’s assent to remove all mention of Islam from FBI training manuals.
While former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice graciously bowed out rather than disrupt the Rutgers commencement ceremonies, who knew that opposition to her speaking wouldn’t end there. In a letter to Rutgers University president by student Donald Coughlan, he described “some students were disturbed by emails sent by faculty members encouraging them to attend a “teach-in” about Rice Tuesday and speak out against the former U.S. Secretary of State. ‘Most students know these professors very well and these emails intimidated students who do not share the opinions of the professors,’ Coughlan wrote.”
Recently, IMF president, Christine Lagarde is another commencement speaker who has joined the disinvited elite, with her address rescinded by Smith college. It appears that some faculty and students don’t like IMF policies. Getting disinvited is starting to be a badge of honor.
Home decorating is also becoming a battlefield. The openly-Christian Benham Brothers were slated to begin a new series, “Flip It Forward” for HGTV. However, the network summarily cancelled their show without a single airing, due to a report that the brothers were anti-gay, which they strongly denied.
Small town Gilford, New Hampshire, was also in the national spotlight when William Baer, the father of a 14-year old girl, was hand-cuffed and arrested at a local school board meeting, because he went over the “two-minute” comment period while protesting the sexually graphic and explicit content of a book assigned to his daughter for reading. His daughter, following her father’s arrest for disorderly conduct, bravely spoke up before the school board. Notice the dead silence in the room following her comments.
Drew Sterrett, accused of raping a female student while a student at the University of Michigan, is now suing the university for abridging his due process rights guaranteed to him under the U.S. Constitution. His lawsuit claims, “at no point during the call/interview was [Sterrett] given notice of the specific allegations which had been made against him.” The University adjudicated the matter and expelled him. No trial? No jury? No problem. The university can point to the latest kow-tow piece of political correctness legislation by the DOJ, the Title IX “Montana Agreement.”
This is what America has sunk to. Individuals who express a viewpoint or dissent from a more liberal, progressive agenda are vilified and marginalized, and branded racists or worse. A page out of the Saul Alinsky playbook. Americans are already rethinking the risks of dissenting in public, (think Lois Lerner and the IRS), or because of employer behavior edicts (think Mozilla). Recently, FEC Chairman, Lee Goodman, warned “there are some in this building that think we can actually regulate media,” which is especially troublesome if one is of the conservative persuasion.
And so it continues. Watching a once vibrant, anything is possible nation, become a chasm of Americans slowly being cowed into silence. Dissent and discussion of differing viewpoints is held not in the boardrooms, classrooms, blogs and media, but instead over coffee and kitchen tables, where friends and family members who “think like us” have already been vetted. As First Amendment rights are being trampled upon, the President assumes and exercises powers that are the purview of Congress (think Obamacare delays and the quashing of the welfare work rules), what should be a vociferous outcry is instead slowly becoming more of a whisper.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.
— Pastor Martin Niemoller