- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 29, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

In the beginning was the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And it was good, guaranteeing freedom of religion, speech, the press, peaceable assembly and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

These days, people equate a word, a name, a term with a punch in the face, and they punch back.

They act as if folks who aren’t aligned with them provoked a fight: “Whatsamatter? You just find out your momma gives group discounts to sailors?”

Some of these men and women punching back are wearing “antifa” brand gloves, and they are wearing mouth guards, too, as if they are preparing to hit the field against Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan.

And speaking of the Skins, a private school in Maryland has decided that Redskins attire is a no-no, saying in an online statement that “our need to be respectful and truly inclusive outweighs our need to support individual expression.”

In other words, forget the First Amendment and free speech and individualism. Individuals are not included even when the word “individual” is spoken aloud.

If some children start walking around and sounding like ducks, all children must do the same.

It’s a dark world out there, and the Free State is aiding and abetting its underlords by also dismantling under cover of darkness memorials to the Confederacy.

Next up is the state song “Maryland, My Maryland,” whose stanzas declare, “The despot’s heel is on thy shore” and “Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum! Maryland!”

Instead of doing something reasonable, such as rewriting a few words or, better yet, leaving the daggum song alone, the drum majors at the University of Maryland have silenced the marching band, prohibiting the band from playing “Maryland, My Maryland” at events.

The irony of all this was apparent in the breadbasket of the free speech movement, the University of California at Berkeley. It was there that the activists, hippies and students of the counterculture weaned others on how to secure the right to speak freely about women’s rights, peace not war, and any other issue that struck their fancy. And yes, there were arrests and violence amid the tie-dyed, “Make love, not war” T-shirts and the iconic peace symbol.

So, you see, campus violence and unrest is not new — although today’s demonstrators should have learned from the peaceful protests of the civil rights movement. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

What’s new is that UC-Berkeley is shunting its free speech legacy with a shut-up movement. School Chancellor Carol Christ declared the 2017-2018 academic year the year of free speech, but the city’s mayor, Jesse Arregun, said divergent views are not allowed.

He might as well have post signs around Berkeley that say, “Free Speech Prohibited.”

The birth of this nation was extremely difficult the first time around, a breach birth that began with disjointed battles against Native Americans and wars against Great Britain, the French and the Spanish. Now it seems as though so many Americans are trying to re-fight the Civil War.

What, pray tell, is the difference between white-robed members of the KKK who terrorized America for a century and black-clad protesters who are terrorizing today?

Check Webster’s Dictionary and learn there is none.

Please, calm down, antifa.

Please don’t come to the nation’s capital to strut your stuff the way you’ve been trotting around other parts of the good ol’ U.S. of A.

This town prefers rallies — peaceful rallies — as do its law enforcers.

• Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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