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Op-Ed: Resist the left's attempt to silence us

by ANNE R. PATTERSON/Special to The Press
| March 26, 2021 1:00 AM

Cornell Clayton is a liberal ideologue, preferring symbols and slogans to clear, unadorned speech. Readers may remember Clayton’s op-ed published in July 2020 (Coeur d'Alene Press). There he stated, “No one has a right to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater, even though we have a right to free speech…"

Actually, Mr. Clayton, we do have the right to yell “fire” in a crowded theater, IF THERE IS A FIRE. The debate is not about whether speech that is dangerous is protected, but rather realizing that speech that is true is protected even when it may be dangerous.

Clayton declared in his 2020 article, “To those insisting there’s a right against wearing masks or being vaccinated during a pandemic. George Washington in fact required the Continental Army to be vaccinated against Smallpox."

Yes, that’s true, AND, all those who were forced to be vaccinated were in the service of the Continental Army. They were not ordinary citizens.

The issue in Clayton’s Op/Ed dated March 19, 2021, is similarly disguised. His use of speech to vilify persons rather than to clarify his position is a common tactic of liberal ideologues. By generalizing current conservative views as “…a style of thinking centering around heated exaggerations, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy" and likening the GOP to the right wing fringe groups of the past, i.e. the John Birchers and McCarthyism, Mr. Clayton is hoping he will persuade the readers that people who call themselves conservative Christians should not be taken seriously, nor should their ideas be published. He calls their logic ”stunning" as a way of saying they are clueless to basic principles of our constitutional democracy.

However, knowing that Clayton’s argument is not about constitutionality, but about removing diversity of thought from the public arena, it is easy to spot this liberal ideologue’s goal: convince us that we are not “Real Conservatives” and that “Although people are entitled to hold ignorant, even nutty political beliefs, they are NOT entitled to have them …published.”

Leftist ideology has figured out how to silence the majority without violating their constitutional rights; it's called censorship. I am counting on the Coeur d’Alene Press to not yield to pressure from people like Cornell Clayton to silence our opinions, regardless of how “oblivious" we may seem.

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Anne R. Patterson is a Coeur d'Alene resident.