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May 2, 2019


Professor Kennedy  in her blog today tells us that a Muslim professional (and permanent resident of Israel) was denied entry to the United States due to new Trump regulations though he had been here before, had been invited to give a speech (which Professor Kennedy had planned to attend and interview him afterwards), and had planned to attend his daughter’s wedding in Texas while here. Trump the racist apparently did not want to have him in the country though this man preached non-violence in lectures here and elsewhere. She discussed First Amendment rights that are being assailed by right wing politicians and the need for new ideas in dealing with those who may say things we don’t like but which they nevertheless have a right to say, citing Justice Holmes (and I here on my own cite Voltaire, who famously intoned that “I do not agree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it).” I responded to her effort, slightly edited, as follows.

Though predating the Constitution, it was “new ideas” our colonialist forefathers had that gave us our nation. Those throwing tea into the Boston harbor had new ideas. Those who were victims of taxation but not representation had new ideas. Madison, Jefferson, Adams and others of the post-Enlightenment era had new ideas.

I thought a key observation of Professor Kennedy’s offering today was to note that those who would remove others’ constitutional rights risk similar treatment. Thus while freedom of speech does not include the right to yell fire in a crowded theater, it does include the right to advise the fire marshal that the theater is overcrowded, drawing a bright line in the application of selective freedom of speech depending upon its effect on the common good. Thus the courts have held that one is entitled to privately be a racist but cannot participate in lynching those one hates.

Trump’s racist policies amount to a figurative lynching of Muslims (and everyone else irrespective of race and/or religion whether Democrat or Republican who is a perceived roadblock to his drive to authoritarianism). He is on the wrong side of history, has no sense of constitutional limitations, and must be impeached and removed from office while we still have (if fleeting) the power to do so. We are in the midst of a constitutional Article 1 versus an Article 2 war of words, one we dare not lose since it is plain as day that our democracy is at stake if Article 2 emerges the winner.

Impeachment is a constitutional and (fortunately, given Trump’s and McConnell’s packing of the courts) extrajudicial means of ridding ourselves of this wannabe dictator. Yes, it will be disruptive and loud, but necessary if we are to escape a Big Brother regime, so let’s get on with it by, figuratively speaking, climbing the ramparts.     GERALD          E








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