Trump Discovers the First Amendment

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by Bob Bennett

Donald Trump’s March 11th Chicago rally was cancelled over security concerns, because of an enormous anti-Trump protest. Later he tweeted that his First Amendment rights had been trampled upon by organized protesters.

The Hill reported that Trump also told Chris Matthews, “It’s a little bit sad when you can’t have a rally in a major city in this country … What ever happened to freedom of speech? What ever happened to the right to get together?” [10:55 on the video]

The huge protest was obviously coordinated. Many protesters came from the University of Illinois (where the campaign unwisely scheduled the rally), a host of Socialist Bernie Sanders supporters, with the usual leftist suspects also taking part: moveon.org, the Revolutionary Communist Party, Occupy, Anonymous, #BlackLivesMatter; even Bill Ayers showed up.

Judging by many of the signs displayed, such as “Liberation not Deportation,” Trump’s position on illegal immigration was a central issue, solidarity with Muslims coming in second; both frequently expressed by signs declaring that Trump is a racist.

Inexplicably, Mr. Trump showed little awareness of First Amendment rights only a month before his June candidacy announcement, when he bashed Pamela Geller for her Mohammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. The event was attacked by Islamic gunmen, who were both killed by a heroic traffic officer working off-hours as security for the event.

In a Fox News interview after the incident, Trump appeared to have no idea that she was defending the right to criticize Islam:

“I watched Pam [Geller on Fox News] earlier, and it really looks like she’s just taunting everybody,” Trump said.

“What is she doing drawing Muhammad? I mean it’s disgusting.

“Isn’t there something else they could be doing? Drawing Muhammad?”

Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who was also on the panel, reminded Trump of Ms. Geller’s stated aim, in holding the contest:

“No, there wasn’t another way,” Geller had told Fox, “because you have to fight back against this war against the freedom of speech.” Trump continued his criticism:

“They can’t do something else? They have to be in the middle of Texas doing something on Muhammad and insulting everybody?”

He had inadvertently sided with Hillary Clinton, who worked hard with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the world’s largest group of Islamic nations, to get UN Resolution 16/18 adopted in 2011. The OIC’s longtime mission has been to institute blasphemy laws that would criminalize “Islamophobia,” the Muslim Brotherhood’s nebulous term for saying anything negative about Islam. The resolution calls on [all] states to “adopt measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief.”

To justify their allegation of widespread discrimination against Muslims, the OIC puts out an annual Islamophobia report, listing “incidents of slandering and demeaning Muslims and their sacred symbols including attacks on mosques, verbal abuses and physical attacks against adherents of Islam, mainly due to their cultural traits,” writes Soeren Kern, for the Gatestone Institute. He adds: “The common thread that binds the entire document together is the OIC’s repeated insistence that the main culprit responsible for ‘the institutionalization of Islamophobia’ in Western countries is freedom of speech.”

In Europe, the OIC has largely succeeded in convincing governments to levy fines, even jail sentences for criticizing Islam. The offenses have different terms, in various European nations. In Germany for example, in the wake of Chancellor Merkel’s allowing entrance to an unending stream of mostly Muslim migrants — 1.1 million in 2015 alone – her government intends to prosecute critics of migrants, calling it “incitement to hatred.” Germany is seeing a huge increase in rapes perpetrated by migrants.

In America even hate speech is protected by our precious First Amendment; we are just about the sole holdout. A president Hillary could appoint the right fanatic justice to the SCOTUS, who would work to limit constitutional protection for freedom of speech and expression.

Actually, the organized leftist protesters in Chicago are closely related to the jihadis that set out to kill Pamela Geller: both were attacking the First Amendment. Likewise, Trump’s provocative (though correct) position on immigration – a position his opponents, except for Ted Cruz, feared to take – was also an exercise of free speech.

Apparently, Donald Trump only discovered the First Amendment when he got silenced.

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