Roseanne’s firing highlights the utter hypocrisy of the right. Hate speech does not equal free speech.

Last Week:

The NFL is awesome! A private organization totally has the right to fire or punish their employees for their speech. Freedom of speech only applies to the government, not to who you work for! Go NFL!

This Week:

HOW DARE ABC FIRE ROSEANNE FOR EXERCISING HER FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS! ABC CLEARLY HAS NO RESPECT FOR FREE SPEECH!

Absolutely ridiculous.

The right is trying to have their cake and eat it too. So which is it? Free speech good or free speech bad?

For a progressive, which side is right? Here is how I see it. Free speech good. Hate speech bad. Employers should be able to punish their employees for hate speech. Sportsball anthem kneeling isn’t hate speech. It’s peaceful free speech. What Roseanne said on Twitter is absolutely racist hate speech, and she deserved to get the axe.

Not only should employers be able to punish their employees for hate speech, but so should the government. We have come to a point in time in America to where it would do more harm than good to modify the first amendment to allow for the criminalization and prosecution of hate speech. Hate speech should have no place in a free society and should not be tolerated. When a government allows hate speech, the government is essentially enabling, sponsoring and celebrating hate speech.

As a non binary individual myself, I am subject to ridicule, mockery, and insults on a daily basis, even in a progressive city like Seattle. Hate speech causes me to feel unsafe and threatened, as well as drastically lower my self esteem. Fortunately I have a strong support system, but for others who don’t, the hate speech directed their way could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in terms of self harm or suicide. Therefore, hate speech is essentially a weapon being used and blood is on the hands of the hater if the target ends up committing self harm in any way. I have long championed for the criminalization of hate speech, but unfortunately a document written 230 years ago by a bunch of racist rich straight Christian white men prevent that from happening. The amendment process is in place, but not enough legislators have the courage to act. Any attempts to criminalize hate speech at the local level would be met with a swift strikedown by the courts. Therefore, all we can do is vote. VOTE! Vote for politicians who pledge to either scrap the constitution, or amend it to allow for the criminalization of hate speech.

As with many issues, Europe is showing us the way forward here. Many places in Europe do not have absolute free speech like we do here in the United States, and that is a good thing. Europe understands that not all speech should be tolerated, and have laid groundwork to prosecute citizens for speech they deem hateful or mean spirited. The alt right has rallied around racist bigot Islamophobe Tommy Robinson over the past few days, because the United Kingdom threw his ass in jail due to Islamophobia. Good on the United Kingdom for showing its people they will not tolerate any form of hate whatsoever. The United States now needs to take the baton.

The first amendment will still exist. You will still have the freedom to say what you want, as long as it is not filled with hate and malice. The only people who would possibly have a problem with that are people who have hate and malice in their hearts. If you are not a hateful person, you would not be affected in any way whatsoever. So why oppose such a measure?

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