Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Thoughts on the News 5/23/17

It is write-on week at the law school. Classes are over, grades are starting to roll in, and it's still a couple weeks until my summer internship starts. Sure, I'm spending hours each day reading cases and writing and perfecting my case note to ensure I get into Law Review next semester,* but I just don't feel I have quite enough work to do. To take a break from all the reading and writing, I'm - well, I'm doing more reading and writing. But it's on a different topic, so you know I'm not crazy or anything.
I just wanted to share some quick thoughts on some First Amendment-related stuff that's happened over the past week.
  1. Tuesday, May 16: Turkish leader/thin-skinned Gollum Erdogan orders his thugs to beat up protesters outside the Turkish ambassador's home in Washington, DC. So far as I know, the White House still has said nothing about this ally of ours violently attacking people on U.S. soil for exercising one of our most basic and cherished rights. Naturally, Trump is much more content to lick the boots of leaders whom he wishes to emulate than to criticize them for even the most blatant acts of violence.
  2. Monday, May 22: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross praises the lack of protesters in Saudi Arabia during Trump's visit, dismissing as a "theory" that perhaps no one was protesting because such acts are punishable by beheading in our oh-so-enlightened ally's country. He stated, after the interviewer suggested that maybe no one was protesting because protesting is illegal in Saudi Arabia, "In theory, that could be true. But, boy, there was certainly no sign of it. . . . The mood was a genuinely good mood." Yes, it's very similar to the omnipresent "good mood" in North Korea. I swear those people are always so happy and smiling!
  3. Tuesday, May 23: Arizona Governor Douglas Ducey vetoes a bill that would have extended First Amendment protections for student journalists, stating that, while he is "a strong supporter of free speech and a free press," "this bill could create unintended consequences." Lord knows what those consequences might be other than, y'know, some kids exercising their right to free speech. Sounds like Ducey is one of those people who supports only theoretical free speech.
The vast amounts of praise that Trump and those under him heap on the authoritarian leaders of the world is disturbing, to say the least. I sympathize with the fact that the President faces harsh criticism, including some that's undeserved, but that is no excuse for fantasizing about tossing out the First Amendment. It astounds me that this country has gotten to a point where we are consistently electing people who not only have a history of undermining our rights (the past... several administrations) but now aren't even pretending to like the principles our country was founded on. 

The Enlightenment is almost completely dead. Postmodernism has taken over, and we all just need to hang on and keep talking until the pendulum swings back.

UPDATE: Ah, fuck. See? What did I just say? Trump was outright praising Duterte for murdering over 7,000 of his own citizens. The man is nothing more than a wannabe despot.

* Considering my GPA and generally pretty good writing skills, I doubt this will be a problem, but there is an added incentive to write an excellent case note because the best one will be published. Needless to say, I want to be published.

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