Lopez & Tliab's assault on 1st amendment, local business
Racism, is a word which comes with intense, painful feelings, and at times violence.
Throughout our history we have experienced times when Americans faced the realities of racism, and times when the subject was less prominent. Over the last several years following our first President of visable mixed background, the topic became mainstream once again.
In recent months, much of the media have injected race into more of its stories, deservedly or not. Subsequently, thought leaders and members of the political class have capitalized on the subject, sometimes appropriately, and other times selfishly to gin-up their base and draw attention to themselves.
Case in point, the unfortunate recent story of actor Jussie Smollett, who appears to have staged a fake attack on himself to give the appearance of an assault based in part on race.
The subject of race, while important is too often abused which has Americans on pins and needles in at school, the workplace and at their leisure.
This brings us to the subject of a NY based company promoting a bar crawl in Detroit for “Cinco de Mayo”, a quasi-holiday in Mexico generally associated in America as an annual drinking holiday on May 5th.
The company created an image advertisement which got the attention of Detroit City councilwoman, Racquel Castañeda-López and newly elected Representative, Rashida Tlaib who is no stranger to making headlines.
The image features 5 women wearing sombreros, with graphically created mustaches.
Lopez tweeted her objection followed by Tlaib, both suggesting a protest of the event.
Overlooked in this image by the two public servants are our guaranteed speech rights enshrined in our 1st amendment. Both Lopez and Tlaib ignore that speech come in many forms and are only limited by the incitement of violence, defamation, or libel, none of which appear in this image or the accompanied text.
Ironically, one could easily argue that Tlaib’s speech in response could be construed as defamatory since she is essentially accusing the bar crawl group of being “racists”.
In fact what the picture does depict is leisure, which most hard working Americans can relate to, but Lopez and Tlaib based on their responses seem prepared to not only shutdown the event, but adversely affect local small business in an already struggling economy over a personal opinion.
Only Lopez and Tlaib truly know what their intentions are or where their hearts lie, but as public servants their reactions to this ad will lend themselves to the movement of limiting speech and intimidation of businesses which do not comply with their version of acceptable speech.
Unfortunately, the company as of the writing of this took down their advertisement in the age of heightened censorship by the thought police within the media and government.
Our individual liberty is precious and comes with personal responsibility-- Is the right to free speech, as Madison wrote, "inviolable"? If it is indeed inviolable, then supporting the right to free speech can mean supporting the right to publish or disseminate unpopular ideas, ideas that one may find morally decadent or even offensive.
Anyone can be offended by anything at anytime, but people should not take advantage of this fact, especially elected public servants whom could abuse their platform to threaten or even shutdown otherwise law abiding businesses.
Natural rights tradition asserts that an individual has an inalienable right to his/her own mind and body, and as an extension, those things which he/she justly acquires through the use of their labor (in other words, excluding property acquired by theft or violence). In other words, if it’s your property, excluding the incitement of violence, defamation or libel, you are free to express yourself.
Consider this ad from the Hilton hotel which sparked outrage from a segment of America that sees a degeneration of morals, but again, no violence, no defamation, no libel.
In short, some people may take offense to either of these advertisements, just as some may not take offense, regardless of their gender or background, and public servants may lead a protest to those things which offend them.
However, our leaders would be wise to help thwart the tides of censorship, not fan the flames of speech limitation, or to use intimidation tactics to shutdown an otherwise law abiding business.
If you’re inclined to show support for victims of intimidation like “Bar Crawl Live”, connect with them on Twitter and attend one of their events.
Call Councilwoman Lopez at 313-224-2450 and Representative Tlaib at 313-203-7540 and tell them to focus their energy on building up their communities they represent, and uphold their constituents guaranteed speech rights enshrined in our Constitution.