I’m a naturalized U.S. Citizen; I immigrated here in 2001 and became a citizen in 2010. The process to become an American citizen culminates with a civics exam in which would-be Americans must demonstrate some basic constitutional knowledge.
Here’s one thing I learned when I prepared for the exam:
The First Amendment of the Constitution protects every American’s right to free speech. In other words, an American citizen can’t be imprisoned by their government for things they say in public, even of those things are controversial. The President should actually be pretty happy about the First Amendment because it protects his right to be, um, let’s just call it distasteful.
However, the First Amendment does not require others to listen to someone else’s distasteful comments; likewise, the First Amendment does not prohibit entities from cancelling sponsored appearances by people or groups who might make distasteful comments.
So, while I don’t support the violence at Berkeley last week, I absolutely stand behind the Berkeley community in their decision to publicly rebuke the neo-Nazi and Breitbart “News” editor Milo Yiannopoulos, and call for his speech to be cancelled (which Berkeley administrators later did).
To suggest in a tweet that U.C. Berkeley as an institution “does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people”, and that this vacuous accusation is a justification for withholding federal funds, is evidence of a sitting U.S. President who does not understand the Constitution that he has sworn to protect.
This is not normal.
It’s Wednesday the 8th of February, 2017.