Rodney M Bliss

Truth And (Mostly) Consequences

If you are tired of my brief foray into discussing the realm of politics, fear not. Today marks the final post in my trilogy of political posts. I thought about skipping today and moving on to talking about Monday’s eclipse. But, I have set the stage and fear if I abandon the discussion at this point, I will have subjected us all to this uncomfortable topic for nothing. Because, today is the payoff.

And here’s it is: Free speech is a vital protection to a free society. And even when it’s inconvenient, we as a society must defend it. However, freedom to speak your mind and advocate for your position does not mean freedom from consequences. The nation has gone through a hard conversation this past week. The conversation was sparked by a group of Nazis and racists who wanted to hold a rally in Charlottesville. And there were a group of counter-protesters who wanted to hold a competing rally. The city of Charlottesville initially granted the Nazis a permit. Later, as the rhetoric escalated, the city attempted to move the Nazi/KKK rally to a location several miles away from the counter-protest. Interestingly, it was the ACLU who went to court on behalf of the white supremacists, and forced the city to allow them to have their rally in the original location.

Never put yourself into a position where you have to defend Hitler.

My friends who read the comments I’ve made the past two days about the need to defend free speech reminded me of this advice. The ACLU chapter in Virginia could have used it as well.

Anyway, the rally and the counter-protest happened, and to no one’s surprise violence broke out. Tragically a young woman was killed when a white supremacist intentionally rammed her with his car. Now that the rally’s are past, we are starting to see the aftermath. Twitter users have been especially diligent about tracking down the people who marched with the white supremacists and “naming and shaming them.” And, not surprisingly, they are getting fired from their jobs.

Steve Hofstetter is a professional comedian, his sarcastic take on the march was, “At least the KKK was smart enough to cover their faces. These idiots aren’t that bright.”

More importantly than the fact these racists are losing their jobs, we are starting to see real change. Companies are changing their corporate policies to not support hate groups.

Have all taken steps to block hate groups and hate speech. And it’s a great thing to see. If you’ve read my comments over the past couple of days, you might be surprised that I think that. After all, I made a pretty impassioned plea for the rights of hate groups to speak and assemble. And I still believe that all people have a right to make their opinions heard.

But, just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should. Nor does it make it right. I wish there were not groups like the Nazis, the KKK and the other white nationalist groups. I think their worldview is ugly and I think the members are largely unintelligent. (See Steve Hofstetter’s comment above.) And I think that we as a society should reject those views and stand up for inclusiveness, acceptance, diversity and just being nice to people.

The Constitution guarantees free speech rights. There is nothing that guarantees you a job. If you don’t want to get fired for being outed as a Nazi, here’s a suggestion: STOP BEING A NAZI! I applaud the above named companies for their decision to utterly reject these hate groups.

I’ve had people suggest that my topics of the last couple of days veer too far outside of the spirit of this blog. Perhaps they are right. If so, I apologize dear readers and tomorrow will return to literally much sunnier topics.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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(c) 2017 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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