For those of you who have been paying attention to my blog over the last few days, you know that I’m trying to be more prolific in my posting schedule. One thing you have likely noticed about my writing career additionally is that I tend to avoid one topic like the plague: politics.
Sure, I will occasionally mention religion because my Christian faith is something that is a key part of who I am, and it plays itself out daily in how I conduct business as a freelance ghostwriter and publishing company owner. In fact, I have made a habit of posting things that are directly tied to my faith, and my story of how I became a writer is one that has been deeply impacted by my faith.
However, I avoid politics…and for good reason. The simple fact is, the two most polarizing topics available to write about are politics and religion. I talk about my faith, so I stay out of politics.
Before I go any further, let me give you my “voter’s report card” of major elections since I came of age and gained the right to vote:
- 2008, Republican Presidential Primary: Mike Huckabee
- 2008, US Presidential Election: Chuck Baldwin/Darrell Castle (Constitution Party)
- 2008, VA 5th Congressional Seat: Rep. Virgil Goode (Republican)
- 2008, US Senator from Virginia: Abstained
- 2009, VA Governor/Lt. Governor: AG Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov Bill Bolling (Republican)
- 2009, VA Attorney General: Steve Shannon (Democrat)
- 2010, VA 5th Congressional Seat: Jeffery Clark (Independent)
- 2012, Republican Presidential Primary: Abstained
- 2012, US Presidential Election: Rep. Virgil Goode/Jim Clymer (Constitution Party)
- 2012, US Senator from VA, Gov. George Allen (Republican)
- 2012, VA 5th Congressional Seat: Gen. John Douglass (Democrat)
- 2013, VA Governor: Robert Sarvis (Libertarian)
- 2013, VA Lt. Governor: Ralph Northam (Democrat)
- 2013, VA Attorney General: Mark Obenshain (Republican)
- 2014, US Senator from Virginia: Abstained
- 2016, Republican Presidential Primary: Sen. Marco Rubio
As you can see, I have quite a balanced “voter report card.” In addition to voting in two Republican presidential primaries, I have cast ballots for five Republican candidates, three Democratic candidates, and six third-party candidates in general elections. In the 2013 elections for statewide offices, I casted votes for all three!
The reason for this is simple: I don’t vote for men or women that I don’t believe in, or I don’t believe their message. This is the reason that I have “thrown my vote away” on third party candidates in two presidential elections, a US congressional election, and a Virginia Governors election. When I vote for someone, it is because I believe in them and their vision. That is why in 2012, I voted for a third party in the Presidential election (notice that I voted for Virgil Goode as a Republican for congress in 2008 as well), a Republican for Senate, and a Democrat for congress…all in 2012!
That is also why Ralph Northam for Lt. Governor earned my vote in 2013, but his running mates, Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herrig did not. I also have plans on voting for a third-party candidate in this year’s Presidential election…because I do not believe a word that either major party candidate says, and I don’t support their visions for America.
Now, I say this to make one thing exceedingly clear: I am a right-leaning independent voter.
I am also a writer.
Of the entire U.S. Constitution (including its amendments), there is no right that I value more than that of free-speech, protected by the First Constitutional Amendment, which says:
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.
As Americans, there can be no greater rights! We are allowed to believe what we choose, say or write the things we wish, assemble peacably (for demonstrations and such), and to petition the government to make things right that we think wrong.
Over the years, this has played out in the private sector as well, as even hateful and abusive language has been considered protected, and no institution-government or otherwise-is allowed to infringe on those rights.
As a writer, this is huge. This one amendment to the US Constitution gives me the right to put whatever I wish on paper. In my case, of course, I tend to stick to stories and religious conversations…however, I noticed something today that really got me fired up.
The #FreeMilo hashtag was trending on twitter.
You see, I regularly check the “trending” sections on Facebook and twitter, because they tend to give me the news of the day much more quickly than the television. When I saw that #FreeMilo was trending, I immediately thought of the best known “Milo” that I am familiar with: Conservative commentator (and openly homosexual) Milo Yiannopoulos.
“Did he say something to get himself locked up?” I thought.
Turns out that something different happened entirely. He had been suspended from twitter and tens-of-thousands of his followers were artificially removed by twitter, as artificially lost nearly 50,000 of his twitter followers.
You see, in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting by an individual with ties to the Islamic State (ISIS), the radical terrorist organization, the inflammatory Yiannopoulos made some comments that were considered by some to be “anti-Islam.” As a result, his twitter account was suspended, hence the #FreeMilo hashtag.
He has since been reinstated, but the fact remains…Milo Yiannopoulos has a God given right to free speech. I don’t care where you fall on the political spectrum, you have a right (not a priviledge, which can be taken away) to say what you wish…at least, for now.
You see, this is not so much a political issue (for me, anyway) as it is a freedom issue. How long can a free society last if this censorship takes place?
As I mentioned before, the first amendment to the US Constitution is the one that I personally hold closest to my heart. As an artistic mind, I do not want to see the day where people (such as myself) are censored. I may disagree with you, but the fact is, you have the right to say it anyway!
I won’t get into the politics of it, but Milo Yiannopoulos is the loudest voice for conservatism in the homosexual community. There is no-one better to be the voice of the conservative movement nationwide as we all react in shock and horror at the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, a location known to cater to the homosexual community in Orlando.
Sure, he may have said some things that I disagree with, and he may not have. The fact remains that allegedly, a lone gunman with ties to ISIS walked into a so-called “gay-bar,” and opened fire, killing 50 and wounding as many more. Whether we want to face the facts or not, groups such as ISIS, al Quaeda, and the Sultanate of Saudi Arabia all routinely persecute homosexuals simply for being homosexual. Saying a statement very much like that is what got Milo banned.
I don’t care where you stand on the political spectrum, the fact is that this was a blatant attack on free speech by the social media giant, and it should not now or ever be tolerated. As the great French philosopher, Voltaire, once wrote: “I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”
I hope you all agree.
Read more about the response to the twitter suspension HERE