Yesterday during my weekly appearance on the Jay Thomas Show on WDAY AM970 we discussed the controversy of those Covington High School students who attend the March for Life in Washington D.C. and ended up being accused of harassing and intimidating a Native American activist. Only upon closer scrutiny, which few journalists waited for, it turns out it was a group of militant black activists and the Native American activist who approached the boys.
Anyway during our discussion both Jay and his producer Kyle, while supportive of the students, kept making comments along the lines of how these kids should have known that the pro-Trump, “make America great again” paraphernalia they were wearing would attract negative attention.
Here’s our segment (I make these available on my podcast feed, if you’re interested):
Again, I don’t think Jay or Kyle think the Covington students deserved to be harassed, but suggesting they didn’t display “common sense” by wearing their Trump gear to a political protest smacks of blaming a woman for being raped because her skirt was too short.
These kids weren’t asking for it. These kids didn’t do anything wrong by wearing their hats and shirts. The people in the wrong are those who who lacked tolerance for the high schoolers wearing clothing with political slogans.
How can we say we have the free political speech if you can’t even wear clothing supportive of our elected President to a political rally without fear of harassment?
By the way, what’s truly scary about this situation is that these kids weren’t persecuted for their speech by the government. The persecution came from their fellow citizens. The 1st amendment, as law, protects speech and other sorts of expression from government interference. But the spirit of the 1st amendment we all aspire to (or should, anyway) should mean that we respect one another’s rights to express ourselves.
Sadly, in this day of outrage mobs and irresponsible journalism, we’re failing in that aspiration.