Do your state and local elected officials support free speech for all on campus?
The First Amendment is under assault in America by the intolerant left. A growing number of younger Americans on our college campuses believe it is appropriate to ban speech that they disagree with, are offended by, or find politically incorrect. It’s a slippery slope that has caused several state legislatures to move legislation aiming to protect speech at state colleges. Liberal leaning politicians as well as administrators and educators at our institutions of higher learning would be wise to speak out against the danger of suppressing free speech in an open society, but I’m not holding my breath.
For the past seven years, I’ve witnessed up close the left’s disdain for robust free speech rights. Ever since the landmark Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010, the left has engaged in a nationally coordinated effort at all levels of government to “overturn” the Citizens United decision under the guises of “dark money”, “corporations taking over the political process”, “too much money in politics” or whatever the attack line du jour might be. These disingenuous attacks have systematically failed because overturning Citizens United would come down to limiting the free speech rights that are protected under the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The liberal attacks on Citizens United have become so falsified that most people don’t even remember – or realize – what the case was about in the first place. When folks hear the case was about limiting political speech and Citizens United’s desire to run advertisements to support a movie we produced, attitudes magically change. After all, even if one believes that there is too much money in the political system, should the government be able to censor a film or book or pamphlet because someone wishes to spend money to let people know that it exists? Reasonable people agree that this type of “big brother” government action has no place in America.
Furthermore, the liberal attacks on Citizens United are steeped in hypocrisy. One of the top priorities of failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was to overturn the Citizens United decision. However, the Democrat nominee for president and Super PACs supporting her candidacy outspent Donald Trump and Republican Super PACs by a two to one margin. If dark money was truly buying our elections, Hillary Clinton would be president right now. But it’s more than just liberals saying one thing and doing another; it’s much worse.
That brings us back to the politics of today and the left’s permanent campaign against President Trump. The anti-free speech movement targeting conservative speakers on college campuses makes me wonder if the anti-Citizens United effort is truly about the amount of money in the politics. If the left was so concerned about the flood of money in the system, wouldn’t they be against labor union money as well? And if corporate money was delivering a favorable message for the liberals, would that suddenly be fine too? If you recall, liberals had no problem with the corporate funded advertisements that ran in support of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 documentary film.
The left in America today appears not to have a problem with the amount of money in politics, but rather the messenger and the message itself. Hillary Clinton argued that she wanted to overturn Citizens United because of the money it allowed in the political process, but she was also keenly aware that our film before the Supreme Court was entitled Hillary The Movie. “Citizens United was about me” Secretary Clinton used to tell crowds, making it sound as though she was in favor of banning speech that was critical of both her and her political beliefs.
Historically, liberal campuses like the University of California at Berkeley have fancied themselves as bastions of enlightened thinking and peaceful assembly. But these days it appears as though free speech and the right to assemble only deserve constitutional protections for people the left agrees with politically. Our mantra at Citizens United has always been, “we may not agree with what you’re saying, but we believe in your right to say it.” This is what conservatives believe in their heart of hearts.
My question is what does the left and their liberal enablers really believe about free speech in America?