Our Founding Fathers wrote in the U.S. Constitution one of the rights we hold most precious as Americans.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance.”
In the past several days, we have seen our leaders trample upon these rights. It happened Wednesday in the Louisiana House when state Rep. Jeremy LaCombe, D-Fordoche, wanted to speak out against House Bill 156, the transgender athlete bill.
LaCombe said he opposed transgender males in female sports, but he called the bill “problematic and irrelevant.” The Louisiana High School Athletic Association already prohibits transgender participation in sports, and the bill would have opened the gates to lawsuits against private and public-school systems over disagreements in rules by officials.
During the override discussion, LaCombe was cut off at the podium when they turned off the microphones. Part of the democratic process involves debate and free speech, but fellow lawmakers were not fit to adhere to democracy.
It appears President Joe Biden and others in Washington, D.C., subscribe to the same theory. During the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, Biden has urged social media sites to block what the White House deems “false statements” against the vaccine or the coronavirus.
The vaccination and the pandemic itself have been subject to doubt among many Americans going back to early 2020. While many disagree about notions that it’s fake or that Americans should steer away from vaccinations, they still have a right to be heard.
Meanwhile, what message does it send when our president recommends censorship of comments on social media regarding the pandemic?
It sets a dangerous precedent. If enough of the social media companies comply, he may urge them to block any posts that oppose his domestic or foreign policy.
Who knows? Maybe he will urge them to block anyone who opposes him, his Cabinet or his allies on Capitol Hill. Maybe he will pressure them to block posts from those who disagree with him.
Social media took the same approach with Donald Trump, and now President Biden wants it to continue.
It almost reads like the next chapter of “cancel culture.”
Based on what we hear, freedom of speech is not pretty. It means we will all hear commentary, at times, that we don’t like or agree with.
But it’s part of America, and it’s everything our forefathers wanted and what our military fights to preserve today.
Any attempt to eliminate that liberty violates our rights as Americans.