Free Speech Movement Laid to Rest Beside its Birthplace — The Beltway Times


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While the entire country stood on edge the day before the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as our 45th president of the United States, I was bustling through downtown Atlanta on my way to Hartsfield International Airport. I was leaving the comfort of my conservative home-state of Alabama for San Francisco, California – a location that could not be further from Birmingham geographically, and certainly politically.

If you asked the average American which location is most associated with the birthplace and cesspool of extreme right-wing radical ideology – they would likely believe it to be the state of Alabama, and especially Birmingham. Looking back on our history, it is not so difficult to imagine the reputation our state has amongst more liberal-leaning counterparts. However, it is worth noting that Birmingham’s desire to move beyond the stereotypes has caused an alarming paradigm shift in the direction of Political Correctness that has made it more difficult to outwardly express personal support of our new administration.

However, having opinions and beliefs stifled for eight years has given rise to a new generation of right wing views that completely and utterly reject the identity politics used as leverage by the liberal agenda. Going from an area where the people in the community have worked hard since the 1960s to understand one another and appreciate their differences to a location where divisive rhetoric is utilized as a political strategy under the guise of a “shame-game,” was a skepticism that was not difficult to overcome. Most people would imagine I was out of the fire, and maybe back in the frying pan. This assumption could not be further from the truth.

The movement to preserve freedom of speech was ignited in the San Francisco area back in the mid-sixties – more specifically, Cal-Berkeley – and also where it seems to have been extinguished. Inauguration Day itself went smoothly, but it was apparent that the colorful murals lining the walls of buildings in the Haight-Ashbury were only keeping the peaceful spirit of the original movement on life-support. The psychological toll of the quick shift in ideologies shows how painfully distorted the ideologies on the left have become.

At the height of the Vietnam War, there was reason to panic and a reason to be angry at the legislation being passed that required many men to fight a war they did not believe in- a war we are beginning to understand as acceptable to oppose. The Vietnam War was a trial-run at the military-industrial complex that operated under the guise of the opposition of global communism. As time goes on, Americans are beginning to warp the importance of the movement against government – one whose intention was to incite vocalized distrust in government in order to save lives from being thrown to wind – into a movement that involves being civilly disobedient so the powers-that-be give the dissenters what they want so they will go away.

This is not an expression of free speech any more than it is domestic terrorism. Using civil disobedience to cause social upheaval was not the goal of the protests during the Free Speech Movement. Their objective was to gather in numbers in order to show how much the public was willing to put their lives on hold until the government understood just how many people their legislation was affecting. Now, it is a numbers game for casualties. Protests have evolved from rallying the troops to achieve peace to gathering in small groups to hurt enough people and property to gain attention from the government and the alarmed citizens of the nation. These protesters want to spread fear – there is no denying that. They have such little regard for our nation and its people that they want to incite perpetual chaos to bully the silent majority.

Although the protests in Berkeley seem to be the most recent form of aggression toward supporters of President Trump and his Administration, the Women’s March in San Francisco was an equivalent inconvenience. The citizens involved in this protest left their trash and signs all over the city and blocked exits as well as many high-traffic areas. The violence at this protest was minimal as far as I could tell, but the faces in the crowd looked like they had no earthly idea what they were complaining about. Half of the men looked like the only reason they were there was because their significant other dragged them along. Also, it is worth noting that all of the civil unrest caused by this movement was to demand rights that American women have had for quite some time. It seemed like a tremendous waste of time and resources to show the world that the rights of women should be protected while many more women worldwide live under the oppression of Sharia Law, to cite just one example. Shouldn’t this humanitarian effort have taken place in the Middle East instead of the Land of the Free?

The greatest takeaway from the radicalization of the left is that it is self-imploding. This dying liberal agenda could have been the cultural expectation of our political structure for the next generation of Americans had Clinton won in November. Now, we are seeing it come to an end because of the very people who support these resistance movements do absolutely nothing to benefit the American people otherwise. The silent majority has gained its voice; their first statement was delivered on November 8, 2016. Any liberal backlash Americans receive for leaning toward a more conservative agenda in the future has gone from silence to retaliation to outright rejection. The past eight years, conservatives have kept their opinions to themselves out of fear of the social rejection of being labeled sexist, racist, or bigoted.

No longer will we accept the spiteful remarks of political correctness designed to guilt us into submission for the left to receive benefits they put no effort into earning. Liberalism is a dying ideology that is twisting the knife in its back more and more with each violent demonstration. It isn’t about being with us or against us because we are not going to fight back at you. We have a country to fix, and if you aren’t on board with that you are wasting everyone’s time. We will move on, and we will move forward. You can cry and scream in the street while wearing your pink hats, but you are only doing yourself a disservice by not participating in the greatest era in American history.