Monday, April 4, 2022

the last book I ever read (Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution, excerpt one)

from Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution by Elie Mystal:

Protest against the government is at the heart of why the First Amendment exists in the first place. Political speech against the government, speaking truth to power, is the speech that is given the most robust legal protection. But the people who make a living decrying cancel culture rarely lift a pen or hashtag when Republicans use the powers of the state to chill political protests. In fact, they do the opposite: those who claim to care about cancel culture treat political protest as the thing that threatens freedom of speech. They claim their freedoms are being threatened by the very thing the First Amendment is designed to protect.

They call it the “heckler’s veto.” Snowflake Republicans have spent much of the last decade trying to prevent people from protesting their speeches. Remember Desiree Fairooz? She was the lady who was arrested and charged for laughing during Jeff Sessions’s confirmation hearing for attorney general back in 2017. She was charged with disrupting Congress and illegally protesting on Capitol Grounds. Again, this was laughing at a ridiculous statement made by Alabama Republican senator Richard Shelby during the hearing. (Shelby said that Jeff Sessions’s “extensive record of treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.” Sessions was one of the most well-documented racists available at the start of the Trump administration: he was literally on record as a Klan sympathizer and was deemed too racist to get a federal judgeship before the people of Alabama elected him senator. Fairooz’s laugh was a kind response, relatively speaking, to Shelby’s falsehood.)

Once confirmed, Sessions’s Department of Justice hounded Fairooz for a couple of months, trying to force her into a plea where she admitted guilt, before eventually dropping the charges.

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