This week the spouse of the person third in line for the presidency got seriously attacked by a hammer-wielding, 2020 election-denying conspiracy theorist that regularly spouts racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ views via a blog not like, but not 100% unlike, this one.
Now, before you go jumping to conclusions —
We here at Notes do NOT believe, as the attacker does, that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is the power behind some cannibalistic, child abusing cabal.
Nor do we traffic in the notion that non-white people, Jews or gays are evil incarnate.
And not only because the Chair is in the latter two of those three groups.
Rather it is due to the fact that we, like him, use the WordPress platform to regularly espouse our views for all the world to read, and perhaps rally behind, via our own personal BLOGs.
I was thinking about this a lot after hearing my fellow blogger broke into the Pelosi home after 2 a.m. bellowing, Where’s Nancy, struggling with 82-year-old Paul Pelosi before hitting him REALLY hard on the head. (Note: Nancy was not at home, but hard at work rallying Democratic voters far away on the opposite coast).
Nevertheless, Mr. Pelosi suffered life threatening injuries from this attack – a fractured skull and serious injuries to his hand and arm that required surgery – but it is now reported he will be okay.
This was not solely due to his doctors but also to the fact that an intuitive 9-1-1 operator dispatched the police to his home with a high alert warning.
Still, it momentarily left me wondering:
Exactly where do we stand with free speech in our presently advanced information age??
Oh, OF COURSE FREE SPEECH NEEDS TO CONTINUE! (He ranted).
WHAT ARE WE, A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY OR…..RUSSIA? (He asked).
OR A MAGA STRONGHOLD IN THE SOUTH OR MIDWEST? (He irrationally screamed).
OR THE HOUSE JUDICIARY GOP, which still has up the following three-week old tweet:
Shoot (oops), even billionaires (Note: Up until this week) get to say anything they want, like the rest of us.
Or in solidarity with Elon Musk’s plan, after buying Twitter for $44 billion, to let back on the platform many of the hate spouting, fake conspiracy-promoting users whom former Twitter execs permanently banned for life. Beginning with:
Get ready America.
I don’t have answers as to where free speech ends and governmental intervention begins.
Nor do American politicians or its citizens if the last six plus years of the MAGA agenda to poison our social discourse with lies about the efficacy of the 2020 elections (and beyond), amid white power salutes and calls to lock up every elected official they don’t agree with, are any indication.
Phew, that was a mouthful.
And we’re not done yet.
Because when there is no agreement on what is true, or what is even real, it’s hard to know where to even start.
When I was in graduate school in Chicago once upon a time in the seventies there was a big hoopla around the Nazis marching in the nearby suburb of Skokie, a primarily Jewish enclave.
It was a provocative move to cause an encounter, we were all sure, so eventually it was decided that as heinous as Nazis were, it would be against freedom and even worse for democracy to not allow this monstrous group who supported the extermination of a race/my people, to be free to express themselves in a place where my people/that race most particularly presided.
Of course, this was in an era where almost everyone believed Nazis were heinous.
A time very unlike today.
As I watched former President Obama campaigning this weekend in support of democracy and Democratic candidates in swing states like Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin he was incredibly inspiring. But his words felt almost…
Oh, he made the case and then some for the imperative to vote Blue in the 2022 election and beyond.
He proved without a doubt that to not elect these representatives could signal the end of democracy, not to mention extinguishing popular social programs like Social Security. Not to mention more tax cuts for the rich and less affordable health insurance for the rest of us mere mortals.
But he was speaking to thousands of Democratic supporters who wanted to be inspired and be given numerous exciting, rational reasons to get off their phones and up off their asses to make a difference.
Still, it made me wonder if this was the only way to stop the MAGA movement for now. Get every conceivable, rational, believer in facts and democracy that we all know to move up and out to the polls, even if we need to take them there ourselves.
And to worry about how free our free speech should be AFTER this election cycle.
To forget about the lies, and hate, and crazy right wing fan fiction on social media for right now.
Unless they try to stop us from voting. And then we’ll…
Well, we’ll cross that bridge in 10 days or less. I guess.
A friend of mine sincerely asked me how I can be even slightly positive about the future of the country in light of where we are now.
I immediately responded it’s because I spend a lot of my working life around young people in college, the vast majority of whom loathe the MAGA agenda.
Deniers aside, it is a fact that 65% of Gen Zers voted for Joe Biden in 2020 and that in 2024 they will be the most powerful block of voters.
So now is the time to TALK, not lecture to them, about their fears, their truths and the truth of what is going on in the country vs. what is passing for truth these days.
And ask them to vote for themselves, or as a favor to you, if you know them well enough. (Note: Yes, guilt can work. I’m living proof!).
And then get your butt and the butt of everyone else you know into a virtual/mail-in or literal voting booth.
We can then scream, rant, chat or even blog about the distorted views and/or rights of any crazy that comes to mind after that.
Because we will still have the freedom and luxury to do so.