Sorry if you don’t like what I have to say, however, I’m going to say it anyway. Is that how the First Amendment works? Or is the responsibility of the speaker to moderate his tone to accommodate the sensitivities of the listeners? Is it incumbent on the speaker to assume responsibility for the actions of the hearer should the meaning of his words be misconstrued? After Friday’s (3-11-16) cancellation of his scheduled rally, Presidential candidate Donald Trump is tasked to answer that question as are his competitors and the American citizens alike. As of late, it has become increasingly difficult if not impossible to make the acceptable assessment in today’s politically correct climate.

One need only visit a college campus and almost immediately, you will be directed to the “free speech zone” or designated “safe space”.  These areas of the campus are for those who dare to express a point of view semi-contrary to the majority, but malleable enough to be changed under slight pressure, to the popular or majority perspective of the student body and the university faculty and administration. In addition, if your perspective is deemed more than mildly unacceptable to the orthodoxy, you will be arbitrarily refused the opportunity to speak and engage the student body at large, and access to the free speech and safe zones will be denied. No contradiction in terms there, right?

The larger issue whether free speech by anyone, anytime, anywhere is allowable, versus the right of anyone to protest that speech, has a definitive answer which can be found in The Bill of Rights, specifically The First Amendment. Generally speaking, it is agreed that no government entity, business concern or individual have the legal authority to prevent any citizen from expressing their like or dislike for the way in which any public figure or official may be perceived by that individual. We also agree and without embarking on a protracted legal argument, that one may not falsely yell fire in a crowded theater. If we stipulate to the general ideals of unabridged free speech, why is the solution to the disruption of the Trump rally so difficult to find?

In the case of a public political event where attendance is voluntary, an affirmative decision to attend and hear the speech or participate in the activities therein is made on the part of the attendee. To assign blame for a negative reaction by individuals or groups who oppose the content by choosing to attend, and had a negative experience based on the content of what has been termed harsh rhetoric by Mr. Trump, overlooks the responsibility of a person to control oneself due to what was heard during the speech. Whether or not one agrees with a speaker or the speaker’s message, receipt of that message is optional.

Each of the rally protestors has deemed themselves as enlightened, intelligent and above the intellect of a “street-brawling trash talker” with racist propensities. Therefore, if indeed these are your attributes, but exercising self-control during political debate is not among them, put on display your intelligence rather than your fatuity and stay away from political rallies of which you disagree with the ideology, lest your ability to silence the opposition transforms the authority {1A} under which you operate.

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