I have been writing for nearly three years now. For anyone who has followed my writing through the years, they can see I always try to find the optimistic road ahead. It’s not fun to speak negatively and think pessimistically. I always seek the half-full approach. Well, I spent a large portion of quarantine in 2020 diving deep into US History. I will say that I cannot rationally speak positively about where we are heading right now. We are descending down very dark roads.
You see, fear is an excellent disease. It can spread faster than COVID-19. Once you divide people into tribes that are as narrow minded as ‘you’re either with us, or against us’ people are scared to speak out and must conform to the intimidating ruling class. The abandonment of one’s identity, principles, and self-worth is the subsequent stripping away of one’s liberty. This has happened before, and it’s about to happen again. It’s not unique to America. Once a group becomes large, loud, and powerful enough to intimidate one’s free speech, the possibilities are endless. It’s how fascists rose to power in Germany and Italy prior to WWII. It’s how communism spread in Russia and China. It’s how dictators assumed power in Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. Today, it’s probably unlikely America falls this far, but it’s increasingly likely America gets worse before it gets better.
Part One: What Just Happened?
For those of you who may not be keeping up to date with the events, please let me enlighten you as to where we are heading. Twitter has not only banned Trump, but the app has taken down multiple Trump related pages, like his campaign page, and deleted the accounts of many of his most prominent allies. Google has already removed social media platform Parler from it’s App Store, and Apple soon followed. Prior to its removal, Parler was the most downloaded app in America. Soon after the actions of Google and Apple, Amazon, who hosts the platform’s site, revoked their services. The social media platform is now searching for new web hosting. Many prominent Facebook groups such as the #WalkAway movement have been deleted. Reddit has taken down the largest Trump community on its page, and Discord has been following suit on their platform. Shopify has removed hosting services for Trump’s online store. A sitting US Senator lost his book deal. CNN has requested the major cable providers take Fox News off the air. Yahoo petitioned to deplatform one of Conservative’s most prominent voices, Mollie Hemingway. All of this happened in about twenty-four hours. For anyone thinking this is just about Trump, you are sadly mistaken.
In the months leading up to the election, we’ve seen stories associated with Ukraine or Hunter Biden suppressed on social media. The most notable instance was the suspension of the NY Post account for daring to publish a story about Hunter. We saw an endless batch of YouTube videos removed once they rose in view counts if the content of the video even dared to go against COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese origins, case count inaccuracies, or mask efficiency. We’ve seen the same happen with anyone trying to poke holes in the election data resulting in Biden’s victory. We’ve also seen Google try to demonetize websites. For example, we saw conservative website The Federalist come under fire over the summer, as well as conservative blog Zero Hedge. Google stripped them of their ad revenues due to comments from readers on the websites that were deemed to incite violence or racism.
The companies are all entitled to create Terms of Service that users are expected to abide by. However, because of provisions in section 230, the companies are also not meant to pick and choose which content they deem ‘fake,’ ‘unreliable,’ or the spreading of ‘disinformation.’ They use racism and fear as their means around censoring conservative voices. Again, this isn’t about Trump. We’ve seen countless journalists suspended or canceled through the Trump years who often align with the Republican Party. We’ve seen an onslaught of groups and online communities shut down. The bias is blatant, and the smokescreen is obvious.
American tech giants have more power than any company. That’s because they not only have clout in terms of their size and profitability, but for the first time in American history a company is large enough to control our voices. When Americans began to unionize and rise up against the unfair labor situation within monopolies like Carnegie’s steel factories, and Rockefeller’s oil wells, the press was still able to adequately disseminate the information to the public to alert them of the atrocities taking place. Today, the ability to spread information contrary to what’s deemed ‘acceptable’ or ‘factual’ is increasingly difficult because the companies who support the modern day flow of information are stripping away the content at their own discretion. Dissent is no longer allowed, and if someone spreads a counter-culture message, it is slapped with a disinformation ban because it is either inciting violence or spreading hate through ‘racism.’
Part Two: A review of America’s dark history with censorship
Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984. Or, modern day China. For America, we’re about to embark on a new version of the Red Scare which was brought on by McCarthyism. You may not understand these references, so let’s speak to one that’s more timely. American Muslims and Islam came under attack post 9/11. It was similar to the way Japanese Americans were treated poorly, and subsequently interned post Pearl Harbor. Fear that a specific demographic group living inside America will incite violence subsequently loses rights at the expense of larger government surveillance programs and intimidation tactics.
The US Government created the Department of Homeland Security only one month following 9/11 establishing the TSA to ‘randomly screen’ passengers deemed a threat. You remember all the ‘random’ passengers with turbans or Muslim names being screened. Soon after the DHS was created, America established the Patriot Act. The bill that would rule them all. Through fear, the Patriot Act was able to mass survey Americans deemed a threat. At that time, Muslims.
In light of the events at the Capitol, American legislatures will soon pass domestic terrorism bills to survey Americans deemed a threat. You see, they believe America has a group of homegrown fanatics that are about to incite more violence, or insurrection, and therefore, we must act fast to enhance monitoring, and increase the punishments for these people before they overthrow America with their tactics. This all sounds wonderful and pragmatic on the surface, but if history is our guide, this will result in an expansion of government monitoring, suppression of individual liberty, and intimidation tactics used under the guise of safety to scare those deemed a threat to the Republic.
The same way Japanese Americans needed to be rounded up before they would overthrow America during WWII. The same way Russian assets like Hollywood celebrities living in America in the 1950s were going to spread communism through the country to change our democracy from within. The same way Muslim Americans needed to be aggressively patted down while traveling, and monitored in their mosques because they were going to fly more planes into buildings. The same way Conservative Americans (AKA Trump supporters) are going require enhanced monitoring because they’re deemed threats that will create more domestic terrorism and devolve America into a Civil War.
America is at her worst when she legislates via fear. It’s when the freedoms our founders fought to secure come under the most assault. Once fear is invoked as a means to justify encroachment on individual liberty, the very fabric of why America has worked starts to unravel. Now, America is hardly perfect, and we’ve clearly made mistakes as it pertains to liberty. We’ve just highlighted three since 1941. And, we’ve done this before. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus during the Civil War, and Adams invoked the Alien and Sedition Acts as we neared war with France in 1798. We’ve made these mistakes recently, and a long time ago. But, it seems we have yet to learn our lesson that each time we do this the result is always a government overreach that stains our history.
The path to come together passed us by a long time ago. This is only going to intensify in the coming months and years. Realistically, since no American is rising up to lead us out of this division, unfortunately we will continue to destroy our country from within. Now, that’s something we’ve done before, and ultimately we were saved from our own demise at the cost of over 600,000 lives through four years of intense battle. It’s time to suggest radical compromise the way statesmen in the 1830s-1850s brought to the House and Senate floors to avert the inevitable Civil War. It’s the only way we can salvage what we still have. I’m afraid in this time of tribalism though, voices of reason will be discouraged, and the division will continue further. Darker days lie ahead for our nation.
Part Three: Where are we going from here?
The Tet Offensive recently implemented by major tech companies is being wildly supported by major media outlets and politicians. Dissent is few and far between. The Silent Majority (or officially, the silent ‘minority’ of 74 million) is being intimidated. This is not exclusive to Donald Trump, and anyone thinking this cannot see the forest for the trees. Tech has banned much more than Trump, and their continual censorship and de-platforming has largely been against Conservatives. Trump is the boogeyman. He’s the 19 men who flew the planes into buildings. Conservatives, or ‘Trump Supporters’ are the innocent Muslims who had nothing to do with 9/11, but dealt with the life changing repercussions. This is true with the Japanese Americans who faced upheaval when a government they weren’t even aligned with struck Pearl Harbor.
The Boston Tea Party occurred in December of 1773. Only sixteen months later the first shots rang out at Lexington and Concorde to begin the American Revolution. In October of 1859 John Brown raided Harper’s Ferry. Only eighteen months later shots rang out at Fort Sumter to begin the Civil War. The events at the Capitol, the subsequent censorship that we’re enduring at the moment, and the soon-to-be passed domestic terror bills by a Democrat controlled congress will put America in a position the likes of which we’ve not experienced since the two aforementioned events.
America is on high alert as we descend into the next couple of months. Heels will be dug in, and the concept of uniting is all but destroyed now. When someone is down on their knees, like the tens of millions of Republican voters, it is not the time to stereotype them all and suppress their voices. Those who forget history are damned to repeat it. Well, we don’t teach history in school anymore, so why are we surprised that we are trying to yet again suppress dissent under the guise of fear. The taking away of social media accounts simply because one aligns with a man who served a term as one of our forty-six US President is troubling. The continued mischaracterization of Republicans, Conservatives, and Trump supporters is frightening. The inability for one to realize that large swaths of the country view the suppression of his voice and his confidants as a subsequent suppression of their voice is concerning.
This is not just about Trump, and it never has been. It’s about power and a way to rid the populism Trump stirred up in 2016. The Democrats and power hungry individuals in America do not want dissent. They seek to establish a country in their image. Tolerance and acceptance is only extended to those who remain in lockstep. Conformity is expected, and disagreement is seen as a threat to the cause. You see, this isn’t what America is about. Trump is out of power. It’s over. But, why then is it continuing? Why are apps like Parler taken off app stores and shutdown? Why are videos removed, Tweets deleted, comments slapped with disclaimers? Again, this isn’t Trump. Trump is the piñata. Trump is the scapegoat. Trump is who they use to put to motion what they want.
America is not staring down new legislation the likes every new administration brings. We aren’t looking at just changes to tax law, enhancements to healthcare, or new trade agreements. No, policy shifts are not the only thing the Biden Administration and Democrats are proposing. They are also seeking systemic change to alter the very system. They are compounding this to suppress any dissent with the fear of domestic terrorism in light of the events at the Capitol. We are not dealing with simple policy arguments anymore. That ship sailed. We are dealing with the changing of America and the stripping away of one’s liberty.
When one’s back is against the wall in terms of taking away their voice, their thoughts, and their rights to speak publicly, the consequences will be dire. This is exactly what drives extremism. We are here, and the next couple of months will only exacerbate it. Can one even fathom if the shoe was on the other foot? We were told Trump would be a despot. We were told he can’t be trusted with nuclear codes. What if Trump had gained power and suppressed Obama’s right to speak out on Twitter? What if he de-platformed Obama’s videos, prevented him from selling books on websites, and even went so far to coerce publishers to not publish his literature? The country would have been an uproar, and the fear of what journalists theorized how Trump would lead would have come to fruition. How then is this different today?
America is about to deal with problems the likes of which her citizens truly do not understand. We are not at the climax of this story with the events at the Capitol. No, we just began the story. Trump was chapter one in a book of new American history that is being written each day. A story about two facets of Americans that have ideological divides that are beyond repair. Yes, the majority of us are not extremists, and the majority of us would still stop to help our neighbor in need regardless of their political affiliation. However, the assault on Trump and his allies is going to be seen as an assault on Trump voters.
The media, Democrats, and ‘elite’ in America have been berating Trump voters for over four years now. They’ve belittled, mocked, and intimidated them. They’ve created lies out of thin air to try to remove their President from power multiple times. They’ve stereotyped his backers consistently. They’ve done everything under the sun to speak ill of the President and the tens of millions who voted for him not once, but twice. And, despite the promise in late 2016 to try and ‘learn’ why Trump voters supported him, they’ve still refused to understand and comprehend what his voters see in him. He represents them in ways no leader has. He fights for them and their rights. He sticks up for them and falls on the sword when his supporters are routinely poked at. Now, suddenly they expect these voters to go quietly into the night while they watch the continued censorship and suppression. It is not going to happen.
Part Four: What do I do about this?
Here is what one can do about this. It is not the time to cower and stay quiet. No, it is time to speak out and explain who you are, what you stand for, and how you think ideologically. The goal is to intimidate. You see, we are unable to gather right now. So, the more they silence us, the more they suppress any chance at a movement.
The most recent examples of movements took place during the Trump years. First, there was the #Resistance movement that began with the massive Women’s March soon after Inauguration Day. It was intensified through the 2018 midterms via the faux Russia collusion narrative allowing the Democrats the possibility to take back power in the House. This resulted in a phony impeachment, and prevented Trump from any more legislation. The second movement was the BLM marches over summer which were allowed despite lock down orders, and cheered on by Democrats and their confidants despite over a billion dollars in damage and the deaths of over fifty Americans across most of America’s cities. This mobilization fired up voters to propel Joe Biden into power.
For the Republicans, they last saw a major mobilization following the passage of Obamacare which brought about the Tea Party. This was a grass roots initiative from the ground up that spurred Republicans to run for Congress, Senate, and local races all across the country in 2010. Well, that resulted in a 68 seat swing of power as Nancy Pelosi lost to the Republicans. Democrats are well aware of this, and do not want to forego power only two years from now. This is why you are seeing the assault on free speech. The less opportunity for Republicans to mobilize against the new administration, the more likely they keep power in 2022.
Trump supporters, Republicans, Libertarians, Moderates, and especially left-leaning voters must understand what is happening today. They have to realize what has been happening, and where we are heading. This is not about Trump. It is about their ability to dissent. It is their liberty to speak freely, and think for themselves. Once they understand that, which I hope this series of writing has laid out for them, they have to stay optimistic in their actions. They can think, like I am, that this is heading down a dark path, but they have to stay active. Realize it’s difficult to socialize with your community the way you once did. We can’t chat with our coworkers or neighbors, the people we see at church, the families at our children’s athletic events, or school functions. The less we can see each other to express that we are worried and upset with where this country is heading, the more likely we are to believe we are on an island. We will hear the media chastise Trump and his supporters, and we will begin to think we are part of the problem and that we are wrong in our views. This is exactly what they want us to do.
Do not fall victim to this! You have to speak out. Use any means necessary. Do not feel intimated that by stating you voted for Trump, align with Conservative values, or remain supportive of the Republican Party. Text your friends, family, and colleagues how you feel. Post your beliefs and views. Talk about this on the phone with those you haven’t seen in person for some time due to COVID. This is the time we must rally around our beliefs and champion the freedom to speak and gather. Here is the unambiguous text of our First Amendment. Short, concise, and exactly to the point. It leaves no room for interpretation for a reason.
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.
This is our right. This is what we are about. We cannot let the tech giants tell us otherwise. We cannot fear that we are not allowed to speak out. We are Americans. Many of us are Republicans or something closely aligned with the principles of Conservatism. Be proud of that. Be happy. Tell everyone who you are, and do not let them scare you into thinking otherwise. We need to come together and rally behind shared ideology at this point in American history. It is absolutely crucial. It supersedes winning an election and passing new policy based legislation like taxes and healthcare. It has to do with what we are allowed to type and speak. It has to do with what we are allowed to read, listen, and watch. Do not let this slip. When it’s the darkest, that’s when those who lust for power and control use fear to acquire it. It’s a tale as old as time. Do not be afraid and allow for this to happen. Speak out. It’s your right. It’s your duty. It’s your liberty.
In March of 1775 Patrick Henry famously rang out, ‘Give me liberty or give me death.’ Lincoln once poignantly spoke about liberty in the dark days of the Civil War as it lingered into 1864. He said the following.
The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name—liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names—liberty and tyranny.
He continues on by metaphorically telling a story to highlight the differences between liberty and tyranny, a battle that he clearly sees between good and evil, despite both sides explaining they are championing good through liberty.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails to-day among us human creatures, even in the North, and all professing to love liberty. Hence we behold the processes by which thousands are daily passing from under the yoke of bondage, hailed by some as the advance of liberty, and bewailed by others as the destruction of all liberty.
Here, Lincoln speaks to abolitionists in the North and slaveholders in the South. Both were avid users of the word ‘liberty,’ but we know only one group was on the right side of the issue. Unfortunately, we are here again today. We all strive for liberty, but two groups in America see the definition entirely different from each other. Are you a sheep, or are you a wolf?