When Free Speech Becomes Dangerous

A day or two ago, Mike Pence was told by a supporter that she was basically ready to take up arms against the US government if voter fraud was responsible for Donald Trump losing the election. How she would make that determination was unclear, but after listening to the emotion in her voice as she asked her question, it seemed that ANY Trump defeat will be seen by people like her as voter fraud. Furthermore, given Trump’s predilection for crying about his treatment by, well, everyone, he can be expected to willfully fan the flames as well.

Making matters worse, Pence encouraged the idea. Instead of reassuring her of the overall health of the US voting system, he chose to discuss the ongoing investigation of voter fraud is his state, seemingly calling the entire election system into question. He then stepped things up a notch by suggesting that everyone needs to sign up to be volunteer poll watchers to prevent such things from happening as if voter fraud was a routine occurrence in our elections.

Those of us who pay attention know that Donald’s push for ‘poll watchers’ is nothing more than a blatant attempt to dress up voter intimidation in a pretty new outfit by creating the illusion that his supporters are there to help. Don’t be fooled. He just wants his own army of brown-shirts to ‘police’ polling places that they have no business policing.

How could 20 antagonistic (in some locations open-carry) Trump supports be anything BUT intimidating when they linger and leer at minorities trying to enter voting locations? Let’s get real, this is terrifying and dangerous stuff and predicting conflict to follow this scenario isn’t a stretch.

Worse than the demagoguery and private army building is the fact that people like this unfortunate woman aren’t clever enough to know they are being manipulated. They listen to to right-wing radio, watch right-wing TV, and read right-wing press. Then they hear voices like Trump who today suggested the US would literally end and ISIS would take over America if Hillary wins the election. Oh. My. God.

Donald isn’t just nuts, he’s downright dangerous and he’s begun treading into some dark places in his quest for power. With every proclamation of imminent doom, his die-hard followers are becoming more excitable and extreme.

So this begs the question: where does the line between free political speech end and dangerous political speech begin? Does the unthinkable need to actually happen before we recognize our peril?

Demagoguery is dangerous for a reason and if this woman’s worldview isn’t a perfect example of why, then you’re not paying attention. Race bating, fear mongering, and false cries of persecution are the demagogue’s tools. They should not be tolerated to any degree because they lead to conflict. Today it’s just threats, but things will only get worse if this continues.

This is possibly the most important reason we need to defeat Donald Trump. We need to win decisively. The Donald Trumps of the world can’t be allowed to overcome the strength of our republic.

1 comment
  1. I recently spoke with a Trump supporter at length. It was an education. Just after showing me a photo on his cell phone “proving” that on 9/11 the Pentagon, too, had been bombed – and we had all be kept in the dark about it – he went on to say that he “Fully predicts Clinton will become the next president because it’s already been decided” by dark forces in Europe, American, (and perhaps additional extra-terrestrial forces). To the first issue – the photo of a bombed Pentagon – once I closed my jaw, which was hanging open in the utter befuddlement that anyone with a mental age over 10 could believe this photo-shopped nonsense, I simply said, “Don’t you think that if it had actually been bombed, Limbaugh and Fox News would be all over it?” He sort of blinked at me and put his phone away, these new perspectives to consider. As to the second piece, that a Trump loss can only mean one thing – a rigged election… I’m at a loss. How does one reason with such thoroughly unreasonable people?

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