editorial by: Contributor Cade Kiedrowski
A group called the Young Americans for Liberty had a booth set up outside Rocky Mountain College’s Bair Family Student Center on the twelfth of October this year. They had orchestrated a fairly innocuous activity, wherein people were encouraged to write whatever they wanted on a giant beach ball. It was an exercise that drew attention to how important free speech is, and all sorts of people participated. A myriad of opinions, thoughts, jokes, serious political statements, and memes came to coat that ball. It was arguably one of the most beautiful things I had seen in some time, because it exemplified what I think is best about America.
Then something happened that scared and infuriated me. One person obstinately objected to the event on the grounds that the organizers, the Young Americans for Liberty, had profoundly libertarian ties. This is, of course, that person’s right, I would never dispute that, but it was more than a person expressing political dissent.
The individual was opposed to the event, which was advocating quite peaceably for Freedom of Speech on college campuses, for completely ideological and political reasons.
This event is indicative of a growing trend here in America. It seems that there exists a dangerous coalition of ideologues, or ideological zealots, who purport a narrative inconsistent with what it is that makes America great. These ideologues engage in censorship, thought policing, violence, and victimism. Our nation is faced with serious issues that require us to come together and discuss how we want to address them through fair and reasonable discourse. These ideologues of which I speak seek to obstruct discourse and derail our democratic system with an arsenal of weapons which can only be described as the nefarious ‘-ist’s.
To challenge the premise and conduct of the Black Lives Matter movement has become racist. To distance oneself from feminism in favor of egalitarianism has become sexist. It has become sexist to address the insanely high rate of suicide amongst men, or to question any tenet of third wave feminism. Questioning the culture of Islamic countries gets you assaulted with cries of Islamophobia. When we try to address real issues such as ‘black on black’ violence, these ideologues shut the discourse down by silencing their opponents with a single, dangerous accusation. You are a racist. This is the paradigm shift that I fear, where the loudest and most obnoxious voices shame their opponents out of the public discussion. Rather than engaging their opponents in discourse and coming to a compromise, they take the lowest approach. They name their opponent a bigot and encourage the government to censure them.
This is the most pressing, dangerous issue facing Americans today. Our ability to come together and work on a common solution for the issues that face all of us is being obstructed and derailed by the ideologues who advocate for inequity of speech and censorship. Let me be clear, America only works because we are working together. You don’t have to agree with everyone, but you have to listen to their side in order to succeed. This is the basis of democracy, which requires rigorous dissent and compromise. Without dissent or compromise, democracy becomes an oligarchy of ideologues at best, or a dictatorship at worst.
It is because this issue is so pertinent to the very nature of America, that I cast my ballot with Donald J. Trump. All politics and corruption aside, it is undeniable that his opponent, Hillary Clinton, resides solidly in the camp of these un-American ideologues. There are many reasons why I prefer Trump to her, but the matter I’ve outlined here is paramount to me. She represents a dark future, wherein censorship and thought policing eliminate equality and freedom. Donald Trump is not perfect, that is certain, but he is the only person unafraid to engage in discourse. He challenges the ideologue’s paradigms and the ideologues respond violently. He has been assaulted with every ‘ist’ in their arsenal and he has responded brilliantly. When accused of these ‘ist’s, Mr. Trump does what we all ought to do. He ignores their attempt to derail the conversation and continues discourse. The attacks on him are, after all, nothing more than a cheap way to avoid debating him. None of these accusations are true. He is crude, but not sexist. He is somewhat of a stereotyper, but not a racist.
Ultimately, I am voting for Donald Trump because he says the wrong things. I am voting for him because he refuses to bow to the ideologues and continues to engage in discourse about our issues. I disagree with him, but I will always pledge my support to his and any other person’s right to join our public discourse as an equal. I even support the right of the man who spoke out against free speech at the Young Americans for Liberty event. It is only by arguing with one another that we can ever find the right solution. Freedom of Speech gives every individual the equal right to be heard and respected, and it is essential to keeping America great. Let us do exactly that this election. Remember what makes America great now, and cast your vote accordingly.