Guest Blogger: Justin Dean – Justice, Not Oppression
Justin Dean is a student blogging for the Show Me Justice Film Festival. Justin is a senior studying Digital Media production at UCM. He is not a fan of mainstream hyper-partisan narratives, but enjoys nuanced conversations and coming to understand both sides of any debate.
Last night before bed I saw a harrowing video showing a hateful, twisted man harassing Senator Mitch McConnell at a diner when the senator went home to Kentucky. This is not the first time an outraged buffoon has harassed a public employee over a political disagreement. In June White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked by the owner of a restaurant to leave because she is a public employee. Representative Maxine Waters, in a now infamous speech after that last incident, called upon her entire base to confront and harass public employees for daring to work within the Trump administration.
Let’s set one thing straight right off the bat: we are not a nation of cavemen. We are a nation of Americans. Let’s start acting like it.
The First Amendment guarantees our right to say whatever we want about anybody we want, and that’s a good thing. The First Amendment is why you can openly and baselessly call Donald Trump a Nazi, and it’s also why I can call Maxine Waters a domestic terrorist for inciting the harassment of public employees because their political views are different than her own (the dictionary definition of terrorism). If you have ever had a conservative tell call you the “regressive left,” this is exactly why.
Activism does NOT mean terrorism.
You can’t change someone’s opinion on a political subject by name-calling, threatening, or harassing them. Change comes through an honest, two-way conversation. If your opinion is right, use facts and research to prove it. If your opinion is wrong then someone else will show you facts and research to correct you, and that’s NOT a bad thing. Being wrong is nothing to be ashamed of or too prideful to do, it is an opportunity to grow into a better and more intelligent person.
If a climate skeptic comes up to you and calls you a sheep or an NPC for believing in the research that you have done into the subject, would you even think twice about blowing them off? Would you listen to them explain why they believe that? No. You wouldn’t. 90% of people won’t pay any attention to someone who comes up to them and calls them names for their political beliefs. In the same way, that climate skeptic won’t give your ideas a second thought if you start the conversation by calling them a Nazi or a racist.
Let’s not forget the man who opened fire on the Republicans’ baseball practice last June. I can’t even fathom how he thought going that far would change public support of his positions. In America, we don’t settle our differences with bullets and censorship, with terrorism, we settle our differences with a ballot box, with town halls, with republicanism and democracy.
Side note, please stop calling America a “democracy.” We have a constitutional democratic republic.