Whose Free Speech?

The News-Press just will not let it go about the “illegals” controversy and its derogatory speech toward Latinos. The latest was Andy Caldwell’s “Guest Opinion” — which I would love to rebut point-by-point, but no one will extend me anywhere near the space he got — in which he makes a number of specious criminal allegations, that he never really lays out factually, and just calls a councilmember a bunch of pejorative names.

To my knowledge, the pro-Latino dissidents have exerted their right to assemble (in De la Guerra Plaza) and their free speech rights, but have not involved the government at all. What “use of the power of government to crush and silence others”? If the daily paper is going to wail and gnash its teeth about its own free speech rights, the bottom line is that the paper needs equally to respect the free speech rights of the pro-Latino dissidents. They have a right to speak up and say that the journalistic choices made were disrespectful, lacked a civil tone, and were bogus. Equally, the daily needs to respect my free speech rights by not censoring and suppressing my critical responses of January 6, 20, and 24. Free speech rights are not just for newspaper editors and owners. They are truly a two-way street. Otherwise it’s “the pot calling the teakettle black.”

The continued reckless, combative, and confrontational rhetoric of the daily about this will remind us of the Rev. Ian Paisley in Northern Ireland or Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia vs. Bosnia (and later Kosovo). They too recklessly fanned the flames of inter-ethnic tension into a campaign of ethnic cleansing and ended up ripping apart their communities. Do not think it cannot happen here. “As ye shall sow, thus shall ye reap.”

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