Over the past decade, there has been a movement of public icons transitioning from the two establishmentarian parties to America’s new and attractive third parties. Gary Johnson switched over from the Republican party in 2012, Joe Miller and Bill Weld in 2016, and in 2019 the Libertarian Party (of Wyoming) has accumulated a former Rhode Island governor, senator, and Democratic presidential hopeful Lincoln Chafee.
On Saturday, June 1st, Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texans will no longer need to fear being ticketed by the state’s countless red light cameras because of a bill he signed over the weekend that will ban their usage.
Francis Folz | United States
On February 6th of this year, it was made public that the NYPD will be making body cams part of the standard uniform for its nearly 40,000 officers. This is good news since the use of body cams holds law enforcement accountable for their actions in uniform. It also largely removes the “my word against yours” aspect of police misconduct claims.
Claims of criminal conduct by our police are widespread. American police are far more lethal than other developed nations per capita. American police, on average, take over one thousand civilian lives a year. In light of these facts, we must ask ourselves how come all police officers aren’t wearing body cams?
Francis Folz | United States
In a recent CNN opinion piece, author Noah Berlatsky contended that “protecting Nazi speech doesn’t protect free speech” and concluded that a Nazi salute by a group of teenagers endangers the speech and lives of all non-Nazis. Although I credit Mr. Berlatsky for his laudable zeal and well-expressed opinion, his article is laced with multiple fallacies regarding free speech that must be confronted.
Firstly, our Bill of (Human) Rights are not, and should remain, non-negotiable, and that includes the first, second, and fourth amendments. Mr. Berlatsky attributes the belief that safeguarding controversial speech, which inadvertently protects less contentious or innocuous speech, to free speech ‘purists’.
Need I remind anyone it was less than 54 years ago that countless Civil Rights demonstrators were savagely attacked for merely utilizing their freedom of speech, expression, and assembly by law enforcement and firefighters on their solemn march to Montgomery from Selma.
It is for similar reasons that Martin Luther King Jr. wrote from his Birmingham jail cell, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” I wonder if Mr. Berlatsky disagrees.
Mr. Berlatsky proceeds, “Defending the speech of white kids doesn’t necessarily protect… marginalized people.”
To some extent, he’s right. Defending those kids doesn’t necessarily guarantee everybody’s speech of every demographic is going to be protected every time in the future. However, it does set a precedent favoring free speech compared to censorship, which should be a commonly held interest.
Mr. Berlatsky’s most startling, misguided premise about freedom of expression is whenever he discusses “giving free speech to fascists” and how organizations and judges need to balance ambiguous ‘interests’. Mr. Berlatsky blatantly misunderstands that our rights are not given to each other by society, rather they are innate, endowed to us by our Creator.
We don’t ‘give’ each other the human right to privacy, just like we don’t ‘give’ each other the 14th Amendment right to birthright citizenship. All of our rights are intrinsic to our humanity, inseparable from our existence, and deserving of our unwavering defense.
At some point in his article, I questioned if Mr. Berlatsky is aware of the equal protection clause since his attempts to justify censorship tend to fall apart when applied to groups outside of fascists. In regards to the Charlottesville rally in 2017, Berlatsky suggests that since white supremacists used their freedom to ‘terrorize’ people and one individual killed one person and injured nearly 20 others, that is cause to deny every individual within the group their human rights.
Using Mr. Berlatsky’s logic, shouldn’t all members of Antifa have their constitutional rights suspended? After all, when a Hillary Clinton supporter in Portland refused to surrender an American flag to the domestic terrorist group, Antifa members cracked his head open. And that’s only one example of their repeated malice. Shouldn’t their hatred be enough to disband the violent, left-wing faction?
What if you applied Mr. Berlatsky’s logic to religious fanatics instead of ideological extremists? Wouldn’t the tragedy of September 11th be enough to deny every American Muslim the freedoms of speech, expression, and assembly because of the actions of 19 men?
After all, haven’t Islamic extremists terrorized multiple nations and killed thousands of people throughout the globe in the last two decades? Any reasonable person would not punish a group of people for the actions of its individual members but would advocate for equal protection under the law, foils to Mr. Berlatsky’s arguments.
Next, Mr. Berlatsky makes the case that the Wisconsin school district should’ve reprimanded the students for their inappropriate picture that appears to show them performing a Nazi salute, despite being off-campus and unaffiliated with the school district at the time of the photo. In an attempt to buttress his argument, Mr. Berlatsky reports that a school suspended 20 students for a tweet that falsely accused a female teacher of flirting with students, justifying the suppression of expression.
The problem is that the Salem students were guilty of libel and accused a staff member of coquetting with her pupils, a criminal offense. The only crime the Wisconsin teens committed was taking a reprehensible picture, making the situation incomparable.
Mr. Berlatsky’s final argument centers around discipline and race. According to the Government Accountability Office, Black students, in 2014, were 15.5 percent of the U.S. student populace, yet accounted for almost 39% of suspensions. Mr. Berlatsky attributes the disproportion to schools inevitably using their disciplinary authority against ‘marginalized students’ at the expense of others.
However, American schools are extremely localized, meaning parents and administrators have the final say on countless decisions, from electronics to dress codes to disciplinary policies. Regrettably, American schools are nearly as segregated as they were in the 1960s.
So in other words, the black students who are subjected to disproportionate suspensions are largely attending non-white majority schools which choose to chastise their students at a rate that is, apparently, acceptable with school personnel and parents.
Free speech is under siege like never before in American history. I hate bigotry. I detest fascism. However, I appreciate our collective, human right to speech and expression, even if I disapprove of somebody’s opinions and/or actions.
Today, the groups whom people loathe most are nazism and fascism. Nazism, by definition, is national socialism. Socialism is just a few steps away from communism. Communism has left over 100 million people dead in 100 years. What would people think if you could no longer raise your fist in public because of it’s communist insignia?
We are better as a society for the ability to openly express all of our ideas, even ones we don’t concur with, rather than only tribal-mentality approved perspectives, regardless of ideology. If detestable, bigoted opinions are allowed to be expressed in the open, it allows society to weed out the most reprehensible of ideas. It is best we don’t take for granted the ability to communicate freely and openly with each other, as anything less is a form of authoritarianism, oppression, and tyranny.
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Francis Folz | United States
The 2016 Presidential election will be remembered in history as a watershed moment for the modern American republic. Despite over three quarters of Americans desiring third party candidates on the debate stage, the old guard of both establishment Republicans and Democrats alike shut out any voices outside of the red and blue camp. Partisanship was put in maximum overdrive and on display in the nation that prides itself on freedom, yet limits its choices for representation to two candidates. It is no surprise that voter turnout reached a 20 year low in the latest contest between the lesser of the two evils. But as a citizenry comprised of sovereign, astute people, when do we collectively abandon evil and start voting for only exemplary candidates deserving our vote? That time is now.
Regardless of political affiliation, it is apparent to the majority of Americans that our Republic is coming apart at the seams. Whether it’s the rise of violence against political opponents or blind support for dishonest politicians, both sides of the aisle are engaged in a heightened sense of devoted loyalty to their political overlords, even at the expense of violating long-held principles and dogmas. For Democrats, their political figures have incited violence to rally their base at the expense of civility and their previously-held beliefs in peace and love. Meanwhile, Republicans have encouraged conformity while a newly embraced and adored leader slowly and subtlety moves his base farther to the left. This how Americans continue to forfeit their freedoms while their political powers maintain control.
This scenario is nothing new to the Democratic and Republican party, which have perfected the art of conning the American public into complaisant support for over a hundred years. After all, FDR and Wendell Willkie conspired to bring the two parties together to create one monolithic, hybrid party in the 1940’s. The two parties have been two different rails of the same track ever since. It should be no surprise that the Republican and Democratic party continue to team up to create large deficits, initiate endless conflicts abroad, and undermine our constitution and civil liberties.
The two parties possess a stranglehold over all of our election outcomes by successfully deceiving the public into thinking their candidates and parties are significantly distinguishable from one another. For example, the Republican party proclaims to be the cabal of the constitution, fiscal conservatism, ‘small’ government, gun rights, and life for the unborn. Yet since 2010, Republicans have trampled our Constitution and Bill of Rights, ballooned the federal deficit, grown the size of government, failed to pass concealed carry reciprocity and pro-life legislation.
The Democratic Party promulgates the narrative that they are the faction for the people, the workers, the 99 percent, civil liberties, and peace. Beginning in 2008, Democrats, led by newly- elected Barack Obama, passed legislation benefiting big banks, imploded the healthcare industry by rigging the rules in favor of corporations at the expense of taxpayers, curtailed our civil liberties by reauthorizing FISA 702, and pursued destructive warfare against seven different nations, three more than President Bush.
If Americans ever intend to recover the freedoms lost at the hands of the establishment duopoly, it will require a third party, as is evident by this years’ midterms. Take the state of Pennsylvania as a case study. Despite 41% of Pennsylvanians approving of the work Bob Casey has done in his second term as senator and only a mere 30% of Pennsylvanians believing the senator deserves a third term, he leads his Republican opponent by double digits in every poll. Lou Barletta shares more in common with his Democratic adversary than Pennsylvania’s conservative Republican base, which begs the question why the Republican party would nominate such a lackluster candidate.
Enter Libertarian Party candidate for US Senate Dale Kerns, Pennsylvania’s only choice for fiscally conservative, socially laissez-faire representation. Mr. Kerns passionately advocates for a sharp reduction to federal spending which has grown exponentially at the hands of both Republicans and Democrats. Also, he plans to take on the Federal Reserve for their role in growing our debt and inflating our currency almost 100 percent in its 100 years of existence.
The War on Drugs is yet another example of government overreach which has wreaked havoc on the American public. Over the last 40 years, the American prison population has exploded to 800% of its former size as a direct result of America’s toughness on victimless crimes. Coupled with mandatory minimums, more Americans are going to jail longer for misbehavior as deemed by society. To combat these victimless criminals, America has divulged into a police state. Dale recognizes these problems and the solutions necessary to fix them. After all, his campaign is centered around the premise that addiction is not a crime and that no one can run your life better than you. This serves as a stark contrast to Bob Casey and Bob Casey-Lite Lou.
At this point, most people interject and concede that although Dale Kerns may be the best candidate ideologically, he doesn’t stand a chance to win. It’s worth noting Donald Trump had a 1% chance of winning the presidency one day before the election, yet became the first Republican in almost 30 years to carry Pennsylvania on his way to the oval office. It is possible to elect any candidate despite all the preconceived odds stacked against the individual. However, people continue to choose the obsolete red and blue teams instead of principled alternatives. How come?
The answer lies in an unfounded notion that the establishment parties have ingrained in the American public. We are routinely fed the lie that third party candidates can’t win an election for no other reason than they are running outside of the two party duopoly. That lie is reinforced by minuscule media coverage of outsider candidates and inhibiting them from participating in televised debates. And then whenever five or seven percent of people decide to vote their conscience or against this unjust system, third party candidates are disparaged and delegitimized as, despite the countless flaws and missteps of the establishment nominees.
It is time for a second American revolution, only this struggle must be fought with dogmas and ideas, forged by a new political party. The old guards of American politics have enthroned themselves as our de-facto leaders, dictating everything from our economy to our health care to our behavior. Unfortunately, it’s abundantly evident that reform is impossible within our current, century-old two party system. It is time Americans embrace the freedom our Founding Fathers intended for us to enjoy, and it starts by embracing and electing third party candidates.
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