What is freedom?
It’s a no-brainer: Nazis are bad. Racism is evil. White supremacists should be put down and silenced.
Waaaiiiiiiitta’ minute. That last point gives me pause.
Nazis are bad. Racism is evil. White supremacists are most definitely morally reprehensible. And violence arising from such repugnant hate demonstrations must be immediately immobilized, squashed, criminalized, and arrested. No question about it.
But silenced? Should these hurtful, pathetic views be banned in the United States of America? And should justifiably furious, leftist mobs, coupled with well-meaning mayors and their hard-working police forces, refuse the American right for the alt-right to voice and march for such abhorrent, vile, and inciting opinions?
It’s a slippery slope, my progressive friends. You don’t like they way they think—you loathe it, in fact—and you want to drive it out. Perfectly understandable. Indeed, I feel the exact same way! But who draws the line at what is an acceptable position, what is too distasteful and incendiary to be heard, or what is to be permitted to be chanted out loud in our nation? What if that deciding leader or powerful majority is not a liberal, or even a remotely moderate thinker, but is instead an Evangelical minister or fascist-leaning conservative? What then happens to our free speech that calls for racial justice and harmony, gender equity, fair same-sex legislation, climate change initiatives, an aggressively independent press, and other progressive appeals?
They, too, could be silenced.
Freedom of speech allows and entertains all speech; this is what freedom is. To protect my right to share this post to call out ignorant alt-right Neo-Nazis and miscreant segregationists and doltish Trump-loving misogynists, too, I must also protect my political enemies’ freedoms to scream painful racial epithets and woman-hating slogans, terrible as they are, at the top of their lungs, even on Main Street at high noon. Forcefully shutting down such legal rallies—when they’re peaceful and law-abiding, that is—is as un-American as flying a flag with a swastika on it.
The answer, then, is to do what Boston (mostly) did. Show up en masse, dwarf these bottom-dwelling lowlifes (who carry aggrieved protest signs littered with rampant misspellings) with tens of thousands of oppositional voices, and visibly encircle their puny protests—and do so with a healthy physical distance and higher level of respect for what’s at stake here.
Let them throw their temper tantrum. As one does with a badly misbehaving toddler, firmly refuse to engage, decline to justify such obnoxious misconduct, check its power through massive counter numbers, and teach through collective example what class and dignity look like, even as you and all progressives mockingly laugh in the face of such sheer stupidity.
Never resort to violence, unless they unleash violence first and it’s in true self-defense. When a toddler erupts in a shameful display, fists and feet flying, you certainly don’t hit first. We must be the adults in the room.
Do not angrily chase them away with threatening promises to hurt them so they can accurately report how their lives were threatened. Those reports will merely inspire others sitting on the fence to join their cause. Do not confront them with sticks or rocks, or pelt them with urine-filled balloons. Do not assault them in any way.
And don't you dare stay home eating sheet cake, either.
Mock them! En masse. Shame them by the millions for their dark ignorance. Get involved. By all means, work to end their legal, open-carry armament by demanding tougher gun laws from our spineless Congressmen and -women. Above all, be the light.
As Martin Luther King, Jr., famously said:
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
I’m not asking you to love these people. Far from it.
I’m asking you to love freedom of speech, and the rights of all Americans, even those with whom we adamantly disagree. I’m asking you to protect my ability to write this, and your ability to counter-march against these alt-right morons. Their thinking is a cancer on our nation, to be sure. Let’s together chemo the shit out of it with the might of Left reasoning, and the force of peaceful, progressive tactics being unassailably right.
Working on three very different stories at the moment for WebMD, all of them fascinating. The first explores male menopause. Women in mid-life face "the change"; do men experience fluctuating hormone levels, too, and if so, how are they physically and emotionally affected as they age? The second story is about the rise in online therapy for everything from treating depression to obsessive-compulsive disorder; I'll examine the research that indicates which types of remote therapy work—and which definitely don't. Finally, I'll talk to a parenting expert about how to successfully integrate blended families with all their complications (former spouses, merging step-siblings and parents, relocations, and muddled emotions). Will post these stories when they appear in WebMD Magazine (digital and print).