Freedom of speech
Only four days after my little chat with uncle, a young student was killed during a college demonstration gone wrong. In fact, it was similar to the one where I met “the arsonist.” A renowned conservative speaker was coming to speak to an anti-alt-right college now that the controversy was getting national attention and he wanted to bask in its golden rays.
A protest was arranged against him at said college. But also a large counter-protest with several ‘far-right’ elements, as the counterfeit news networks like to call them. There was barely any police, as usual in these protests, since the head of the college and the local mayor didn’t want to look “repressive.” There were just two patrol cars for approximately five-hundred and twelve protestors on each side.
The anti-speaker demonstrators were raided by anti-demonstrators as they blockaded the entrance to the hall where the speaker was supposed to speak. The anti-demonstrators appeared about sixteen minutes into the original protest, and after exchanging insults with the other side, engaged in a brawl. Everything was recorded by several phones. What the videos didn’t show was how exactly the girl was trampled to death.
I was, of course, ready, even waiting for this. It was precisely the impulse we needed to push the legislation through. Social media and news networks quickly become flooded by people denouncing the “far-right” for doing it, the “alt-right” for condoning it, and the right in general for allowing it to happen. The tag #nomorecampuswar explodes the day after the conflict, with all the high-voted tweets being liberal. Any right-leaning tweets and comments on the issue simply seem to… vanish.
I quickly call for a press conference, and the vulture reporters all flock to me. I personally speak to the parents of the dead girl and convince them to join my crusade. We gather at a conference room. Uncle also agrees to come, realizing he has to move. The dead girl’s parents stand next to me with tears in their eyes as I speak into the microphones: “Today we have witnessed a completely unnecessary and senseless loss of life that could have been avoided.”
“I have been trying and trying to convince the state senate to vote on a new law that would give the state the power to stop these talks if there’s a reasonable threat to the safety of our citizens.” I stop for a moment, then pick up, angrier and slower. “I am specially appalled at the incompetence of the mayor and the head of college. If they had been more reasonable, this tragedy would not have happened. But now, a young girl, top of her class, with a bright future in front of her is dead.” I emphasize that last word. “Her parents will say a few words now.”
The mother is just crying, unable to speak. The father still can’t believe he has lost his daughter. He looks like a broken man. “I—” he starts with a shattered voice. “I will never… We will never get her back. All we can hope for now is tw-two things: justice.” He stops to wipe a tear. “And that this never happens again.” I shake his hand and hug her. Then they step away from the microphone. The reporters squawk questions to the parents, but I wave them off with both my hands. There’s no treat for them just yet.
“Now listen to me,” I go on, still angry. “I’m going to call the senate’s attention on this issue once more. If they fail to listen to me, or to the thousands of people that are already asking for this bill… then we need to consider if they represent our best interests. Thank you all.” They flap their hungry beaks, begging me to answer their questions. I point my finger at a woman from the crowd.
“Don’t you think this measure would interfere with basic freedom of speech?” she asks. I smile. “It wouldn’t hurt anybody’s freedom of speech any more than it is being hurt now. Many colleges have had to call off these events for the same reasons. The only thing that would change is that the state would be in charge of stopping them before they got out of hand instead of these fallible local administrators.”
I point to a man with my hand. “What do you have to say about the enormous increase in college demonstrations after you were elected?” he asks, and I smile. “The reason is simple: the conservatives have let this fire get out of control because they were afraid of actually doing things. But don’t worry because I’m not afraid to act, and I assure you I will put it out. Thank you.” I can’t stand these birds of prey a second more and wave goodbye while I can still smile.
The president says during his own press conference that “[blah blah blah] … freedom of speech is something we care about in this country, and even if some senator or state forgets about it, the supreme court will make sure they remember it well.” He looks a little overconfident in the supreme court and their support. Maybe he hasn’t been paying much attention to their rulings or comments lately. For example, the judges who think “[the constitution] … is a dinosauric document that imposes a government structure that simply does not work anymore.”
That is somewhere down the road, though. For now I have to push the bill through. But don’t worry, I will.