Many people will agree that Sen. Dick Durbin, Demo of Illinois, is a royal piece of work. He demonstrated that again with his recent attack on the 1st Amendment and free speech. Demonstrated it so well that regressive news reporters (who call themselves progressives) and neo-liberals stood up and denounced him for it.
His claim that Twitter is filling up with hate speech now that Musk has “seized” the social media platform, and that the 1st Amendment does not protect “misinformation” was rebutted by dozens of people. Yet it clearly represents the views of the Democratic leadership and at least a plurality of Democratic voters. His own tweet is clear and unchallenged by other leaders of his party in Congress and the States: “Free speech does not include spreading misinformation to downplay political violence,” he claimed.
But I think we are all missing an important point!
Even though his statements, his claims, are clearly misinformation, and to be harshly criticized and condemned because of his power in the Senate Judiciary Committee and his education and experience, including the fact that he is supposedly a constitutional scholar and lawyer. Even though his statement is clearly in support of his political party and represents the rest of the party’s leadership. Even though he is part of the governmental apparatus supposedly protecting us from disinformation…
He has the same rights of free speech as the most horrible of people. Yes! As much right to speak as The Donald, as Elon Musk, as even Alex Jones! (Well, as Alex Jones once thought he had, before he had judgements of a trillion dollars levied against him by our justice system.)
Dick Durbin has just as much right as any other person in the Fifty States – citizen or immigrant or border jumper – to say whatever he wants to say. To lie, to con, to sling the disinformation, the misinformation, the fake news, the whatever we want to call it.
I know. Disgusting, isn’t it?
It is ironic that this little tiff over Durbin’s stupid words would come at the same time as a viral video showed another example of stealing people’s rights of free speech (well, expression). This one was at Trinity College in Connecticut, where students had been ordered to remove a First Responders support flag and a Gadsden (Don’t Tread on Me) flag hanging out of their dorm window. (Twitter post here, if you dare.)
(A First Responders flag is based on a 50-star US flag but in black and grey or white, except for a blue stripe (showing support for police), and a red stripe showing support for fire service personnel. There are many varieties, such as this one:)
Equally ironically, the State of Connecticut exists today because of free speech and the related freedom of religion. The original colonies in New Haven and Hartford were established in part by Baptist and other denominations’ refugees from persecution by the established Church of England, and religious refugees from nearby Massachusetts Bay’s Puritan authorities. And Connecticut invented the “Fundamental Orders” considered by some to be “the first written constitution known to history that created a government.” A government that guaranteed (or promised to) freedom of speech and religion.
Too bad, eh?