Freedom of Speech

Donald Trump is in a battle for “free speech.” The only problem is that each and every court of law, whether liberal or conservative has ruled against the “information” he keeps repeating in an endless denial of the outcome of the free and fair election we had in November of 2020. I submit that this is sedition and is a clear violation of his oath to protect and defend the nation and its constitution. That it may be legal is a small loophole and the downside to believing these false and self-serving rumors is huge.

None of us are free to call up the fire department and yell “fire” when it isn’t there. If we could, a few bad actors could shut down all community services. Giving false information in a police investigation is against the law. If a court of law determines you’ve threatened someone, it can limit where you can go and who you can talk to — a necessary exception to protect people you’ve threatened or mistreated and to protect others’ rights.

None of us are free to lie in a court of law or under Congressional subpoena.

Those of us with clearances for restricted information aren’t free to talk about what we know when it’s classified. And there are stiff penalties for speaking the truth in this instance.

Manufacturers aren’t free to lie about the ingredients of their products and, in the case of carcinogenic and addictive products, are subject to all kinds of regulations to protect consumers. Right now, to sell a pack of cigarettes, you must tell your consumer the there is a strong likelihood of serious illness when using their product. You cannot sell things in the US without telling the consumer about them.

The freedom to spread falsehoods is limited to preachers and politicians when not subpoenaed. Most others are subject to being fined, sued or restrained.

So, when falsehoods are spread through the new media, it can be a serious problem just as when the truth is squelched is a serious problem!

So how, but by our system of law, do we determine the truth? I suggest that it is NOT listening to either side of these issues but to search out the truth for ourselves. Unfortunately, many people are a bit too lazy to do that and feel confident in the unreliable sources that tell them what they want to hear. So, when all else fails, we must rely on the court system. In the case of the virus and in the case of the election, the courts have spoken repeatedly that the public good overrides the “freedom” to spread lies and false rumors.

Like a lot of things, conservatives believe in absolutes and liberals generally look for a balance. Our legal system is antiquated and clumsy and massively anchored in past judgements and belief systems. I’m not ready to defend its accuracy or effectiveness, but it beats an unregulated system where anything goes and the store could sell your child a loaded working firearm as a toy or rat poison as the newest drink.

The world KNOWS the three vaccines work and the world knows (through literally hundreds of millions of tests) that the risks of getting a harmful shot are orders of magnitude less than the proven risks of not getting vaccinated against Covid-19! The courts have already indicted Trump’s longtime business manager as well as a good many of his close associates and, while the two impeachments were unsuccessful, Donald Trump has clearly demonstrated his willingness to lie and obfuscate and his unwillingness to testify under oath.

Disturbing the peace is a chargeable offense and has been for centuries. Certainly killing thousands of people with misinformation, if not a crime, might not need Constitutional protection. And subverting our democracy and consistently lying about “election fraud,” if not called “sedition” by a court of law yet, might not merit the protection of the Constitution he’s trying to overthrow.

I believe you still have the right to make up your own minds about this. I for one have looked at both sides of the news sources and have listened to the people, both Democratic and Republican, doing the tallying. I live in Arizona where a biased, disreputable company is given unsupervised access to try and make Trump’s case and it reminds me of Ronald Reagans support of the Contras against the duly-elected Sandunista government of Nicaragua, preferring military dictatorship that supports the rights of a wealthy minority against the rights of the people who do all the work and want more equitable laws and leadership.

To those many who still believe that Donald John Trump tells the truth most of the time, I suggest you just look at the legal evidence presented and discarded by impartial judges in each and every state that the election was challenged. Then, if you don’t think he might be guilty of sedition, I don’t know what to say.

And, for those of us that still distrust the “unapproved” vaccines, I suggest a course in probability and statistics would show that, while the long-term side effects of these particular vaccines are unknown, the long-term side effects of similarly created anti-viral agents have been tested for quite some time and found safe and the short-term side-effects of not taking the vaccines have been conclusively lethal in tests worldwide while the short-term side-effects of the vaccines have been minimal and quickly fade.

And, finally, we are at war worldwide. The world economy shut down to deal with our “enemy,” a small organism which procreates by infecting a host (in this case, any human being). We knew that this was going to happen someday — and this is NOT the last attack. Again, with an overpopulated, highly interactive world, it is bound to happen sooner or later. If you don’t get a Covid vaccine, you are supporting the virus rather than humanity.

Maybe this is too harsh. Maybe freedoms are absolute, but I spent three years of my life in the military because we thought some rice farmers in a Third World country on the other side of the world that hadn’t said “boo” to us or harmed us in any way were a “threat.” It was technically voluntary, but I was facing a kill-or-be-killed situation if I hadn’t enlisted. We sacrificed my freedom for three years AND the lives of 67,000 young men then. What do we do about an implacable enemy that has killed over 600,000 innocent Americans and many more allies?

This is still a state of emergency as we feel the enemy’s invasion in our health as well as the disruption of our society and its economy. What about the right to life for the unvaccinated children of this country? Do you still want to overthrow the government that is fighting for the lives of these children? Do you still think overthrowing the 2020 election will solve our nation’s health and economic crisis?

Do you still think the “big lie” is Democrats illegally taking power? Is getting the Republican party back in power still the most important priority?

When does rationality and public health outweigh theoretical, unproven beliefs? Why, when we’re at war with an implacable enemy, does our previous President continue to divide us? At what costs to our beloved country do we become implacable enemies with our neighbor while ignoring the real danger that’s at our doorstep and the cooperation needed to defeat it?

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