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Op-Ed

The Left Doesn’t Want Free Speech. They Want Their Speech.

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Although leftists like to use words like “tolerance” and “openness,” their preferred tactics are censorship and bans. The left consistently attempts to silence their opposition’s words rather than debate the merit of their ideas.

But in order to keep their self-given title as the protectors of diversity and to avoid detection of their anti-First Amendment philosophies, leftists have learned to camouflage their attack by claiming the language in question is dangerous, unsafe or may lead to violence.

In a recent interview with Salon, Ben Shapiro said, “We have to acknowledge that attempting to shut each other down or treat speech as violent is a dangerous thing.”

Any idea worth having is an idea that can withstand, or at least engage with, a robust attack. (Another smart person said that recently. You should follow that person immediately on Twitter).

Brandon Straka, founder of the #WalkAway movement, is learning firsthand the dark depths of the left’s anti-free speech hypocrisy. I had the opportunity to speak with Straka about recent circumstances.

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Straka, an openly gay political activist, fits the stereotype you might think would be welcomed by the left. But you would be wrong. Although it is simply a campaign chronicling a diverse group of individuals deciding to abandon liberalism, Straka’s #WalkAway movement has been viciously — and incorrectly — lied about, including being labeled a “Kremlin operation” by Bob Cesca at Salon.

Referring to the growth of Straka’s movement, Cesca wrote “This isn’t being circulated by earnest yet misguided voters who formerly identified as Democrats. This is clearly being circulated by trolls connected to the Russian influence operations.“

Even though Cesca’s lies were both obvious and easily disproved, the attacks didn’t stop there.

Straka recently planned two town hall events in New York City —  both scheduled for this week. The two #WalkAway events are geared toward the black community in an effort to present why some in the minority and LGBT community have joined the conservative movement.

Do you think the left is being hypocritical?

The first event is Wednesday. Straka intends to show a video compilation of testimonials from people who have decided to leave the liberal plantation. He has raised outside money to rent the theater so those from the surrounding minority community can attend for free. Straka calls the film “Documonial.” The showing will be followed by a diverse panel who will take questions from the audience about liberalism, conservatism and the stories they just heard.

The second event was scheduled for Thursday at a center that focuses on LGBT issues in the community. Again, Straka lined up a diverse panel to discuss the #WalkAway movement. The center accepted Straka’s signed contract and took his money. Additionally, the center promoted the event in its magazine.

But then a mighty triggering began.

Groups ostensibly for diversity and acceptance began their war against the event and Straka personally. They created a petition. They created a dossier. They organized a boycott. They threatened a protest.

The protesters and petitioners claimed Straka’s campaign was a white nationalist movement. However, they apparently didn’t take the simple step of looking at diverse faces of the storytellers on the #WalkAway YouTube channel.

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In an act of pure cowardice, deceit, or both, the center canceled the town hall. They did so without notice. They did so without talking to Straka or a representative of the #WalkAway movement. “To this day, they have not called or emailed. I found out on Twitter about their public statement,” said Straka.

I fully support one’s right to boycott, protest and petition. Those rights are part of a healthy and vibrant discussion. But when the goal of a protest is to silence other voices, it ceases to be healthy. It ceases to help civil discourse.

Despite the fact that the center willingly accepts 3.4 million dollars a year from American taxpayers, it rejected Straka’s event because it did not approve of his speech. The center’s stated reason was because it would make members “feel unsafe.”

It was their feelings that must be protected. Nevermind that Straka has never advocated for violence. Nor does his movement endorse anything remotely along the lines of violence.

Just the thought that an idea they don’t agree with might be spoken in a room they are not forced to be in was too traumatic for the protesters. And, in the end, the thought proved to be too traumatic for the federally funded Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in New York City.

Straka pointed out that simply because he dare question things they do not want questioned, his opponents “put me in the same group as David Duke or Adolph Hitler.”

The protesters who claim to want more tolerance have also promised to show up at Straka’s other event to keep it from happening as planned. The irony isn’t lost on Straka.

“A group of white people are planning to show up in Harlem to disrupt an event so black people cannot get an alternative point of view,” he said.

That’s the truth about the left, America. It’s time to walk away.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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G.S. Hair is the former executive editor of The Western Journal.
G.S. Hair is the former executive editor of The Western Journal and vice president of digital content of Liftable Media.

After graduating law school from the Cecil C. Humphries School of Law, Mr. Hair spent a decade as an attorney practicing at the trial and appellate level in Arkansas and Tennessee. He represented clients in civil litigation, contractual disputes, criminal defense and domestic matters. He spent a significant amount of time representing indigent clients who could not afford private counsel in civil or criminal matters. A desire for justice and fairness was a driving force in Mr. Hair's philosophy of representation. Inspired by Christ’s role as an advocate on our behalf before God, he often represented clients who had no one else to fight on their behalf.

Mr. Hair has been a consultant for Republican political candidates and has crafted grassroots campaign strategies to help mobilize voters in staunchly Democrat regions of the Eastern United States.

In early 2015, he began writing for Conservative Tribune. After the site was acquired by Liftable Media, he shut down his law practice, moved to Arizona and transitioned into the position of site director. He then transitioned to vice president of content. In 2018, after Liftable Media folded all its brands into The Western Journal, he was named executive editor. His mission is to advance conservative principles and be a positive and truthful voice in the media.

He is married and has four children. He resides in Phoenix, Arizona.
Birthplace
South Carolina
Education
Homeschooled (and proud of it); B.A. Mississippi College; J.D. University Of Memphis
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Culture, Faith, Politics




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