The right to shut up

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I’m all for freedom of speech. But I have an innate dislike of people who abuse it, who have no filter, or — this happens a lot — people who choose not to use a filter. I appreciate keeping it real. I’m up for honesty. Bluntness has its place.

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But those who speak without thinking, or with no regard for the others around them — all with a defense that they’re just keeping it real, just being honest, just telling it like it is, you know, and if you can’t handle, well that’s on you — are basically free-speech bullies. They’re blowhards.

What if everybody did that? What if no one had a filter? What if everybody spewed whatever they thought without thinking of the consequences?

It’d be like living in an old Jerry Springer episode, or on some stupid radio call-in show. It’d be like a never-ending dinner with Donald Trump.

I’m still unsure if Trump really believes half the crap that comes out of his mouth. One of his latest vomits, wanting to bar members of a certain religion from coming to the U.S., has predictably — and correctly — hacked off people all over the world.

Almost more than being incredibly idiotic, blatantly un-American and obviously anti-Christian, the fact that he was ballsy/stupid/unthinking enough to say something like that in the first place is infuriating.

A smart person stops to think. It seems like Trump’s always going off-the-cuff.

A wise person backs off. This guy never does.

Unless — and this goes back to me being unsure if Trump is honestly this way — he knows what he’s saying and does it anyway. For the attention, for the shock factor, solely to whip up people who think like that. To inflame. To rally. To get a chuckle. For (God forbid he’s really thinking this) the votes.

And if any of that’s true, it’s doubly infuriating.

I think we all have to remember that Trump is, and always has been, a salesman. He’s a shill. He knows what gets people to buy his schtick. He knows how to push buttons. Which is why, even writing this, I feel like I’m playing into his hands. I probably am. Donald Trump is nothing more than a damn Internet troll.

I’ll be glad when his campaign dies, because his presence cheapens the whole process. I’m not fond of Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz or Jeb Bush or Carly Fiorina or Ben Carson. I’m not crazy about Hillary Clinton, either. (Bernie Sanders has a bit of a Doc Brown charm to him, though.)

But they are serious people with real ideas who seemingly consider what they say carefully. They think first.

Building a wall. Keeping out Muslims. Shutting down the Internet. “I like people who weren’t captured.

Trump is a free-speech blowhard. And that’s infuriating.

1 thought on “The right to shut up”

  1. I’m still not entirely sure who I want to be the next president. I know it’s not that guy.

    Like five times already, he’s done things where I really thought it would do him in. It’s as if America is a good friend who’s just dating a really bad guy and you keep wishing for him to do something bad enough to break them up. I continue to steel myself with the trust that at least 51 percent of our country will eventually know better. Right?

    Like

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