Texas A&M canceled a white supremacist rally planned for September 11th after the tragedy in Charlottesville. Not only do I applaud them, but I think we ought to be doing more of this.
First of all, any event planned on 9/11 always gives me a foreboding feeling. Couple that with it being a Nazi rally and that is a recipe for disaster. Why do we allow these groups of hate to protest anyway?
Oh I know, it’s because the first amendment gives us freedom of speech, but I don’t think hate rallies that called for exterminating entire races was ever in the forefather’s minds when they wrote the first amendment. In fact, I’d like to think the context behind the amendment was to protect journalists and others who might get sued for reporting the truth. I’m not saying hate speech didn’t exist then, but certainly, not in the dangerous scope, it exists now with the internet.
We have seen how the internet has increased violence partly because it allows anonymity and partly because it allows people to gather quickly. Before the internet, the chances of loud protesting crowds gathering was much smaller because people didn’t know about it and they would have had to travel much farther. And unfortunately, when you get groups together, violence is always a bigger possibility. When you try to have opposing groups meet a protesting group, the percentage of violence escalates. Why?
Because group mentality is a different beast altogether. All too often, people do things in a group they would never do alone because they feel safer, they feel pressure to do it. Plus, the group mentality raises emotions and makes reactions more volatile. If someone says something hurtful to you one on one, you have the option to walk away, but when you are facing a group of angry people screaming at you, it gets much harder to turn a cheek.
It saddens me that hateful people hide behind the first amendment. The first amendment should not be a cart blanch ticket to call for the extermination of a race. It should not be a pass to be able to declare one race more important than the other based on a pigment in their skin. It should not be a shield for people to spew closed-minded and deadly ideas. This is how the Holocaust started. One man sharing ignorant and wrong ideas to large crowds who were desperate for change.
Perhaps it’s time to amend the first amendment to stop protecting these hate groups and dangerous rallies.