To The Daily Sun,
As an infrequent commentator to this paper, I have consistently defended the First Amendment right of free speech.
I have supported the U. S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, which confirmed a 35-year-old precedent that the inherent worth of speech to inform the public does not depend on the identity of the speaker, whether corporation, union, association or individual.
Today we see protest groups trying to shut down another person's rights to free speech, whether a conservative-oriented speaker, Ben Shapiro, at a public university in California, or candidates for the president of the United States in Seattle (Bernie Sanders) and Chicago (Donald Trump). This is clearly wrong and a violation of our constitutional rights.
Protesters have a First Amendment right to protest a speaker but they do not have a First Amendment right to halt another person's exercise of his or her rights of free speech and expression.
Am I missing something here? It seems that those who protest another person's rights of free speech are invariably the liberals or progressives. What do they have to fear? Is it a position or thought which they vehemently disagree? As I have said previously: The foundation of the First Amendment is that it protects and promotes the free exchange of ideas regardless of source and however personally disagreeable one may find the content of the speech. As frequently stated, the solution is more free speech rather than less.
Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and others have the right to free speech and not to be shouted down to the exclusion of speaking by those who disagree with the person, ideology or another cause, like University of Illinois Chicago students or Black Lives Matter.
Those on every political spectrum who support this suppression of free speech are anathema to our constitutional rights and freedoms.
Richard R. Gerken
- Category: Letters
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