CREES: Let them speak

So… by now everyone with any kind or style of communication device – smartphone, tablet, TV or whatever – has read, heard or seen the Tweet which U.S President Donald Trump shot out concerning four U.S. Congresswomen. (Multiple Tweets and speeches actually!)

He wrote that if the Congresswomen – all women of color – didn’t like it here; if they couldn’t stop complaining about him, his administration, and aspects of life in general in these United States, they could “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came…”

You, gentle reader, are also probably well aware of the fact that three of the Congresswomen in question were born in the United States and one was naturalized when she was a teen.

After the initial stupidity Tweeted to all and sundry (which did little more than show Trump’s true colors) the president basically followed up with, “Hey… what I said is OK because folks agree with me.”

He then added a Tweet claiming “New Poll: The Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in predicting the 2016 Election, has just announced that “Trump” numbers have recently gone up by four points, to 50%. Thank you to the vicious young Socialist Congresswomen. America will never buy your act! #MAGA2020”

First of all, I unfortunately need to agree with the president.

Astonishing numbers of people in this country not only don’t find his comments offensive, they actually agree with him… and more… and worse.

Much to my chagrin, I’m not surprised (anymore) that Trump’s popularity increases with every insulting, small-minded, petty, bullying comment he makes… and Lord knows he makes a lot of them.

His believers don’t seem to care what he writes, Tweets, or says. It’s all OK. Everything.

No one – from the construction worker down the street to GOP leaders in Congress is ready, willing or able to call the president to accounts. (Actually, I need to point out, thankfully, that at least three GOP members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation have spoken out against Trump’s vitriolic blatherings.)

I am well acquainted with the “Go back to where you came from” stuff.

Taking a stand that goes against the general flow of feeling in this area has resulted in me being told off any number of times.

I find this odd.

I was raised to believe, and have always thought there was room for diverse opinions in a country as large and strong as the United States.

Freedom of thought, opinion and expression are (or at least were) kind of a thing here in the U.S.

And opinions can go this way or that, depending on circumstance.

My grandpa, for example, was a card-carrying union man and a staunch Democrat… but he despised President Kennedy.

Go figure.

I have had an number of guys, including some who fought in past wars defending the freedoms we hold so dear, tell me to get out of town ‘cause I didn’t think like them.

One fella out in Sears suggested I was a “Neo-Communist.” I could never quite figure that one out. I guess a Neo-Communist is just an old-timey Communist, but with more hair gel… or who likes rock music.

I don’t know.

A angry writer in Paris said I should “go back where I came from.” I actually came from Detroit. (Truth be known I was born in Roseville, but we moved into Detroit when I was four-years old.)

I don’t want to go back to Detroit. I didn’t even go back to my high school reunion which was held in May.

Not a big fan of Detroit. (Not a big fan of city life, actually.)

I have had indignant readers threaten not only me, but my family as well – because of my opinion/s.

And I’ve had a few of readers threaten this newspaper because I wrote what I believe. I have worked with young journalists who said they will never write an opinion piece after reading the responses I’ve received for mine.

The Constitution of these United States offers protection for freedom of speech in the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948 with the full support of the United States says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

And that includes Congresswomen of color no matter if born in the U.S. or naturalized.

So… fact be known… not allowing these Congresswomen, or anyone for that matter, free expression, and chanting ever so enthusiastically “Send her back” is a repudiation of all the freedoms and basic rights in and of which all good Americans say they believe.

“Send them back” is un-American.

Letting them speak, no matter how uncomfortable it may be to some, is what it’s all about.

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Posted by Jim Crees

Jim is the editor in chief of the Pioneer, Herald Review and Lake County Star. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8360 or by e-mail at jcrees@pioneergroup.com.

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