There are few things so contrary to our First Amendment rights as the existence of so-called “free speech zones.” Though the right to peacefully assemble must be balanced against public safety, at public events around the country, those who wish to speak their minds freely must do so under increasingly-rigid standards.
Recently, as citizens protested the arrival of 2016 Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton, they were threatened with arrest if they did not submit to being confined to such a “free speech zone” that was away from Clinton and the area of her arrival.
Citizens and students at Florida’s International University protested Clinton’s presence on campus, but were told by police that they would be arrested unless they relocated to a “free assembly area” several blocks away.
The protesters attempted to argue with police, telling them that Clinton would not be able to witness the protest if they complied and relocated. When one asked if they could assemble on the sidewalk, an officer replied, “You guys will be subject to arrest, you understand?”
Clinton parroted President Obama’s talking points on Cuba and urged a thawing of relations with the despotic, Communist regime. Her speech took place only yards away from a memorial to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s victims.
“I understand the skepticism in this community about any policy of engagement toward Cuba,” Clinton said. “But you’ve been promised progress for 50 years, and we can’t wait any longer for a failed policy to bear fruit. We have to seize this moment.”
“Get on board or get out of the way,” she continued.
Rey Anthony, an organizer of the protest, claimed that he had helped organize the protest because it was “insulting to a Cuban community like ours to come to our community and speak right across from a memorial that commemorates hundreds of people that fell to the Castro regime.”
He reported on the treatment by the university stormtroopers: “Essentially, the police corralled us away and continually moved us back, but thankfully there were some passionate advocates who have been abused by the Castro regime that continued to be vocal.”
Peaceful protests are being segregated more and more while those who are committed to lawlessness, as we’ve seen in the Occupy “Movement” and in Ferguson and Baltimore, are allowed to roam freely so long as they demonstrate their commitment to violence and leftwing rhetoric.
No, Clinton was likely not intimately involved in the formation of security protocols at the university; however, we can catch a peek into what level of free speech Americans would be likely to enjoy should we ever have her as a president.
What would our Founding Fathers say about “free speech” areas?