Imagine the mayor of a major American city making this statement:
“But if you don’t like freedom, for heaven’s sake pack your bags and leave. If you do not like it here because some humorists you don’t like are making a newspaper, may I then say you can f— off! 'This is stupid, this so incomprehensible. Vanish from the ______ (Deleted by author) if you cannot find your place here." (Daily Mail)
What if that city was the second largest city in America?
There would be howls, gnashing of teeth, and rending of garments from the overly sensitive easily offended social media lynch mobs.
They would use their nooses, online petitions, calling for resignation, investigations, boycotts, and a host of other punishments.
Immigration groups and activists would be in an uproar. Congressman Luis Gutierrez would be sputtering up a storm, standing on a milk crate so he could reach the microphones and be seen by the cameras.
There would be major protests by the immigrant groups and professional protesters, activists, community organizers, and others.
There would be opprobrium from local and national media. Cable news script reading entertainers would spew spittle as their heads blew up.
The President would be asked his thoughts on the comment. He would probably disagree to agree to disagree that the comment was provocative, offensive, unsafe, irresponsible, unfortunate, and threatened the security of something or other.
Senators and Congressmen would, well, they would, oh, never mind.
C.A.I.R. would be in an uproar demanding a large donation and the mayor taking one of their sensitivity indoctrination courses. He would have to pay for it too.
Al Shaprton would be on stand-by, with his hand out, waiting for a check. Celebrities would weigh in with inconsequential talking points. Talk radio would go bat guano crazy.
The mayor of a major city did make that comment. He is the mayor of the second largest city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam.
Wait. There's more.
He is a Moroccan immigrant. His father was an imam. The mayor's name is Ahmed Aboutaleb. He is the first immigrant mayor of Rotterdam. It gets even better. He is a former journalist.
Mayor Aboutaleb's comments were made shortly after the massacre of the Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris.
The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, stated that Mayor Aboutaleb is his hero claiming the mayor is "the voice of the Enlightenment, of Voltaire."
Mayor Aboutaleb is described as outspoken. He demands immigrants, especially Muslims, accept and assimilate into a free society. He is telling them, love it or leave it.
So far there has been no scorching criticism of mayor Aboutaleb's remarks.
America needs many Ahmed Aboutalebs. We need them in journalism, politics, academia, and especially the corporate boardrooms, where quislings are paid high salaries to cower in fear.
Love it or leave it. Assimilate or go back where you came from. Respect our laws and constitution. What is wrong with that?
Our rights to a free press, freedom of speech, and freedom of expression are inalienable. They are unable to be taken away or given away. They are absolute and sacrosanct. They cannot be modified, lost, overturned, or annulled.
Every individual has a duty and obligation to defend, protect, and fight for these rights. Our elected leaders have an obligation to defend and uphold them. They have no duty, obligation, responsibility, or right to request, cajole, coerce, lobby, or demand rights be abrogated for any reason, including the falsehood of safety and security.
All reportage, speech, and expression is sacrosanct. No matter how offensive, distasteful, hateful, inappropriate, blasphemous, provocative, or irresponsible. All speech, expression, news, and opinion must be vigorously defended and protected.
Criticism is part and parcel of free speech. Criticism is not censorship. Good criticism can pan or lash out while defending the criticized rights to expression or speech. We can disagree, argue, and debate all we want. Those are also rights covered under the First Amendment. There is no right to censor, demand censorship, or legislate censorship.
There is no such thing as hate speech, offensive speech, or distasteful speech. There is only free speech and expression. The same holds true with the news media.
The only thing prohibited is committing a crime or creating a clear and present danger while invoking your rights. Even those are narrowly limited and carefully scrutinized by the courts.
No other country in the world has the unfettered freedoms we possess. Not one. It is our job to keep it that way.
If the Charlie Hebdo massacre and other mayhem against creators are to have meaning, then we must stand up and stand out to protect what we have. We must fight every attempt, even the government, to stifle speech, expression, and the press for any reason.
If immigrants from other countries do not like it, they can leave. They can return to tyranny, repression, and oppression. If Americans do not like it they should find a better way to criticize without silencing, censoring, or shutting down speech, expression, or the press. Maybe they should leave to. They could go to Britain, France, Germany, or Canada, where people can be arrested for being offensive or sacrilegious and the press is regulated.
Assimilate. Get with the program. Or leave.
Protect your rights. Times change. Propriety and the rules of etiquette change. You may be offensive in the future. You could be silenced.
"I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it." (Voltaire)
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