The First Amendment is a beautiful thing, especially given the tumultuous world that we live in during the late 2010’s, but we can’t confuse the right to free speech for immunity from opinion.
The most glorious thing about unfettered free speech is that it governs itself, if left alone. For an example, let’s use Vermin Supreme.
Vermin Love Supreme (born c. 1961) is an American performance artist and activist who has run as a candidate in various local, state, and national elections in the United States. Supreme is known for wearing a boot as a hat and carrying a large toothbrush, and has said that if elected President of the United States, he will pass a law requiring people to brush their teeth. He has campaigned on a platform of zombie apocalypseawareness and time travel research, and promised a free pony for every American.
Monsieur Supreme makes his living by taking free speech to extreme levels, finding himself on some of the most important stages to local government, simply to sputter gibberish and remind us that we are truly free to say what we wish in America.
Here’s the man himself in action.
Now, Supreme is never taken seriously, and has never made a real run at anything, but we all tolerate his free speech knowing that there is little danger in his words. This is the public governing of Vermin Supreme; we just let him do his thing because it’s harmless.
In the case of other issues of free speech, however, things aren’t so harmless. Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and social justice radicals come to mind here. In the case of the first two, the vile racists, we handle them as a society with shame and vitriol. At their rallies, there is opposition. Their First Amendment rights have flagged them for societal outsider status.
Then, why is it that radical leftists and social justice gestapo types are getting a free pass for their rhetorical hatred and discrimination? Such is the case in Fresno this week, where a local university professor’s hatred of conservatives led her to post some sickening things online.
Fresno State announced on Tuesday that they will not discipline Professor Randa Jarrar, who came under fire last week for a series of tweets that celebrated the death of former First Lady Barbara Bush.
A professor at Fresno State named Randa Jarrar came under fire last week for a series of celebratory tweets about the late Barbara Bush. Since then, a petition calling for her termination has garnered over 60,000 signatures.
“Barbara Bush was a generous and smart and amazing racist who, along with her husband, raised a war criminal. F**k outta here with your nice words,” Jarrar tweeted last week. In a separate tweet, Jarrar said that the news made her “happy” because Barbara Bush’s death likely made George W. Bush upset. Perhaps most significantly, Jarrar clogged a mental health crisis hotline when she jokingly tweeted the hotline’s number out to her critics, pretending that it was her personal number.
Although he called her conduct “insensitive and inappropriate,” Fresno State President Joseph Castro announced in a press release Tuesday that Jarrar won’t be disciplined for her controversial tweets.
Yes, Jarrar has the right to say those horrible things, but we have a right to react as well.
If that reaction includes a decision that Jarrar no longer represents the best interests of Fresno State, so be it.