An essay on freedom

Published 4:19 pm Wednesday, February 3, 2021

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By Ash Cutchin

Two years ago I had a discussion with an old friend (since high school) about a letter I had recently written to The Tidewater News concerning the then-upcoming 2018 election. This person is a person (because Congress does not want us to use gender pronouns) not a he or a she or a him or a her … merely a person. This person went on and on about my dislike of many Democrat candidates and about how much this person disliked Trump and all Trump stood for. After a couple of minutes this person finally said, “That’s what I think about it … and end of discussion.” So we quit talking about the issue.

I see a similar situation happening today on a national scale when the entrenched Liberals in Congress and the Media have very strong opinions about many issues and yet they do not want to give those of us who disagree with them a chance to be heard. That is called censorship, and not only does it offend me, it goes directly against the First Amendment to our constitution. In short, that First Amendment partially states, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble …”. You are able to read this newspaper because of that amendment. My computer thesaurus lists several synonyms for censorship and they are: restriction, suppression, control, cutting, editing and expurgation, and it lists one antonym … freedom. So, in a nutshell, censorship is the opposite of freedom and it is a danger to all of us, regardless of our political views.

Congressperson [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez would like to form a federal commission to regulate the media. In one of her kitchen-table blogs she said, “Several members of Congress, in some of my discussions, have brought up media literacy because that is a part of what happened … and we’re going to have to figure out how we rein in our media environment.” Rein-in means to hold back, restrain, reduce, curb, contain, control, inhibit, to name a few. I say that is what they do in China and North Korea.

Katy Couric (and other TV personalities and left-wing journalists) have said that I need to be “de-programmed” or “re-programmed.” She has the right to say it, of course, but what gives her the authority? I say that re-programming is what they do in China and North Korea, and what the Soviets did in the gulags of Siberia. Various social media institutions, such as Twitter and Facebook and Google, have already removed the accounts of conservatives who disagree with their far-left agendas, and who post ideas which those media officers do not like. Don’t forget that Hillary Clinton said on television that I belong in a basket of deplorables. Yet no one censored her comments. [Barack] Obama said I cling to my religion and my guns (of which he strongly disapproves) and yet he was not censored. Madonna spoke about burning down the White House, and yet she was not censored. Numerous congresspersons and senators have said vicious and threatening things about me and other conservatives, and yet none of them has been censored. While they were destroying businesses and desecrating government buildings last summer, many of the BLM and Antifa rioters shouted, “Burn this ******* down” and yet they were not censored. Most were not even arrested, and if they were, they were soon released without bail. Aha! I think I have discovered something. It appears that only those persons who disagree with the liberal progressives need to be censored.

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are two precious rights we should all hold dear. If those of us who believe in these rights and believe we have an obligation to defend these rights, fail to speak out against censorship, then we are doomed as a nation, and our great-grandchildren (if they are allowed to learn about it) will blame us and hate us. They will live in a one-party nation, a nation with no borders, a nation where freedom of speech is a long-forgotten concept, a concept swept away by people who do not care about individual freedoms. Even though I did not vote for Biden, they say he won, and I must live with that. However, many of his supporters seem to be willing to create a domestic terrorism bill that will criminalize use of the First Amendment. We must not let that happen.

ASH CUTCHIN of Courtland is a charter member of Citizens for Responsible Government and chairman of the Southampton County Industrial Development Authority. Contact him at 757-562-6559.