By Tim Baldwin
Unfettered political expression is necessary to preserve a free society. John Stuart Mill said in On Liberty, “the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it.”
As we near the election, Trump supporters in particular are working hard to silence political competition, namely Gary Johnson because he is the only other presidential candidate that will be on every ballot and is steadily rising in popularity. They also want Johnson kept from the debates because they think Johnson will take votes from Trump. Yes, Johnson will, but he will also take votes from Clinton, perhaps more so.
Granted, the only viable options in presidential elections are normally either Republican or Democrat. But in 2016, this is not necessarily true, especially if Johnson enters the televised debates. Many well-known Democrats and Republicans are openly not voting for Clinton or Trump and are supporting Johnson. This will only increase with Johnson’s exposure.
If Republican and Democrat supporters want their candidate to win, they should choose better candidates. Suppressing political ideas is not the answer.
By Joe Carbonari
If good people do nothing, evil triumphs. Consider how that applies to our political scene. “Everyone” gets to vote, but not “everyone” casts an informed vote. Many votes are based on emotion, miss-perception, or outright lies. It is our responsibility to speak up when we know that others are being led astray. What people don’t know, or know in error, can hurt them … and the rest of us.
Everyone has a right to hold their own opinion, and to share it, but that does not mean that all opinions are of the same value. Everyone’s vote, however, counts the same, and in our system most everyone has the right to vote. It can get messy, progress slowed, and suffering spread.
We often allow misstatements, occasionally clear untruths, to go unchallenged and gain acceptance. This is often accompanied by the demonization of that and those that we oppose. Once demonized, they can be rejected out of hand, along with their supporters. They may be marginalized, diminished in consideration and respect. It’s human nature.
We pick our spots when guiding our children in the niceties of grammar and manners. We can do the same with our political discourse. The aim is not to be disruptive, but rather informative. Seldom do we have full, in-depth knowledge of complex, major policy issues. We need to turn to someone for guidance.
If you have the knowledge, it is your responsibility to give the guidance. If you don’t, consider who will.
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