Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Tale of Two Speakers

Photo by Jeff Sciortino in Chicago Magazine

The Denver Post ran a story two days ago about a speech given by former Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill:

NC protesters walk out of speech by Tancredo

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—At least 100 protesters walked out on former congressman Tom Tancredo as he spoke on a North Carolina university campus, one year after he was shouted down at a similar appearance.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that the group at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill stood in unison Monday night, yelling, "No human is illegal." After that, the students moved outside the Student Union and into the Pit, a traditional campus gathering spot.

Tancredo continued with his speech.

When the Colorado Republican visited UNC last April, Students for a Democratic Society shouted him down, held banners in front of him and marched through the hallway outside the overcrowded classroom where he spoke. Criminal charges were filed against one student, but were later dropped.

The Denver Post has a story today (April 28, 2010) about another speech:

Judge won't let university cancel Ayers' speech in Wyoming

CASPER — A federal judge ruled Tuesday that the University of Wyoming must allow 1960s radical William Ayers to speak on the Laramie campus.

The university had cited threats of violence in not allowing Ayers to speak at an event planned for today.

Ayers, a University of Illinois-Chicago professor, was co-founder of the Weather Underground, a radical 1960s anti-war group that claimed to be responsible for a series of bombings. Charges against him were later dropped because of prosecutorial misconduct.

In one case, the speaker’s First Amendment rights are upheld. In the other, the speaker’s First Amendment rights are abused.

The Denver Post helps our understanding of this cultural double standard by noting that the speaker suffering the abuse is - wait for it - a Republican.

UPDATE 4/29/2010:
The Denver Post gives us a summary of reaction to Mr. Ayers' speech last night.  About 10 people carrying flags gathered outside the auditorium to protest the speech.  That circumstance will support a claim that "both Democrats and Republicans have the same problem" but will miss the distinction that the anti-Republican activities were conducted inside the auditorium, involved ten times the number of people, and disrupted the speaker.

Just another day in the life of a public speaker who happens to be a Republican...

UPDATE 4/30/2010:
Michelle Malkin has a link to a New York Times op-ed written by Kris Kobach that addresses some of the issues being talked about by congressman Tancredo.  Left Coast Rebel links to us.  Thanks, Tim.

The essential point is that Americans must carry identification documents with them when in foreign countries, yet our culture deems it "unfair" when we try to enforce such a provision on foreign visitors to America.

Isn't the abstraction of politics fascinating?  With passion and conviction, we mentally separate decisions about our personal security from those decisions we make about national security.  It is wholly understandable that I as an individual should carry ID, yet our culture finds it totally unreasonable to expect the same accommodation from a large demographic group.

And what makes this logic legitimate?  Politics!

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