Not even a month after the election of Trump, hypocrisy seethes from the teeth of the so called Constitutionalists, both locally and nationally. As attempts to erode First Amendment rights and encourage neo-McCarthyism have become a daily occurrence, we must continue to hold conservatives, including the president-elect, accountable.
Georgia’s Amendment 3 was created and put on the ballot by a crooked judge who was taken off of his bench for saying grossly inappropriate things to female attorneys and witnesses. The passage of Amendment 3 means that the watchdog group that held this judge accountable will now be dismantled, leading to a paradoxical view of free speech in the courtroom: Judges will not be held accountable for anything inappropriate they say or do but those who feel violated will no longer have an organization to support them and amplify their voice.
A group of conservative students started an “online watchlist” for professors they believe “advance leftist propaganda” in the classroom and have already begun placing Georgia professors on “the list.” This frighteningly fascist, neo-McCarthyist behavior — putting people on a watchlist for having different beliefs — goes directly against the so-called conservative belief of upholding the Constitution. It’s hypocritical and anti-free speech.
On a national level, Donald Trump has vowed to take away freedom of speech in quite a few different ways. Last year, while on the campaign trail, Trump suggested “closing the internet” and called people who defend freedom of speech “foolish,” stating, “We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way. Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people.”
When asked in an interview by CBS’s Miami affiliate if he thought the First Amendment provided “too much protection,” Trump answered affirmatively, saying he’d like to make it easier to sue the media. Trump lamented that, “our press is allowed to say whatever they want.”
He has continued to encourage censorship since becoming president-elect. After the cast of Hamilton peacefully appealed to Mike Pence, Trump tweeted, “Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing. This should not happen!”
Like some conservatives in Georgia, Trump wants to silence everyone who opposes him and holds him accountable. They may not like the things people say about their backwards policies, but it doesn’t make these things any less true. And more importantly, not liking what someone has to say doesn’t give anyone else the right to restrict them from saying it.