Freedom to Dissent, Especially By Calling Out Bigotry, Among Civil Liberties That’s Gradually Being Stripped Away
Itâ€™s been 15 years since the Towers came down; 15 years since the very core of who we are as a nation was viciously attacked.
Our country has changed drastically since then â€” I donâ€™t need to list the myriad of ways weâ€™re not who we once were.
For many of us, the years immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, were filled with a sadness-tinged optimism. Perhaps, many of us hoped, this was going to the catalyst that truly transformed America into who we were meant to be. Perhaps we would heed the call of pluralism and acceptance and elevated debate and passionate discourse-as-patriotism.
Instead, we followed the path toward a nationalism that prides itself on exclusion. We told those who refused to follow every single one of our nationâ€™s policies that they were no longer worthy of citizenship. We told anyone with darker skin or an accent that they werenâ€™t welcome here and we used them as an antagonistic stand-in because we werenâ€™t quite sure who our enemies were. We stopped pursuing meaningful engagement.Â
Weâ€™ve willfully given up one of our most basic and foundational American rights â€” the right to dissent. Too many have forgotten how dissent was the foundation of our Republic and that civil disobedience â€” like refusing to stand for the National Anthem â€” is rooted in patriotism.
The White Nationalist Movement has become mainstream, and when we try to caution against it people become more upset about how we deliver the message instead of the message itself. We are afraid to be confronted with the reality of our actions.
If there is a lesson to learn from 9/11 â€” at least, for me â€” itâ€™s that our right to dissent is so powerful and so important we have to fight for it every day. There are so few places in the world where a citizen can speak out against their own government without fear. If we keep following in this path â€” the path that continues to embrace white supremacy and racism and bigotry and fear â€” that right will be stripped away within the blink of an eye.Â
Thereâ€™s a famous quote most people think is by Voltaire that folks like to fall back on: â€œI disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.â€Â However, most people completely misunderstand its intention.Â
Defending someone elseâ€™s right to free speech does not mean shielding them from critique or even ridicule. Absolutely, yes, the White Nationalists deserve to use their constitutional right to say whatever disgusting things they want, and if a police officer tried to shut them down, I would unflinchingly step between them. But at the same time? I would be shouting down their statements even louder. Guarding someoneâ€™s right to free speech doesnâ€™t mean guarding them from societal consequences and it certainly doesnâ€™t mean staying silent in the face of bigotry.Â
As Americans, we should be encouraging dissent and discussion. We should be praising those who are working to make our Union more perfect. And we should be calling out those who seek to do us harm, even from within.Â
There are very few imperatives weâ€™re tasked with as Americans. Speaking out against racism, xenophobia, Islamaphobia, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry is a requirement in my book. Itâ€™s a responsibility that every single one of us is called to. We canâ€™t let that slip away. If weâ€™re going to claim any kind of moral superiority over those who want us dead â€” and I think that we can â€” itâ€™s this. Itâ€™s our legal right to disagree without impunity â€” whether it be with one other or with our government or with those who would lead it.Â
Today, and every day, I hope we carry with us the power that each and every one of us has to change the world for the better and to refuse to accept the status quo because it makes some people comfortable. I hope we remember our responsibility to speak out against those who seek to do us harm, and I hope we never, ever stay quiet.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
Pat Cipollone Is ‘A Greatest Hits Package of Crazy Statements’ by Donald Trump: Legal Expert
Former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has agreed to speak to the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress on Friday.
Former Assistant Deputy Attorney General Harry Litman told CNN that Cipollone has carefully negotiated the testimony and he will likely “steer around down the middle” of the attorney/client privilege. However, former President Donald Trump is not the client of a White House counsel, the White House is. President Joe Biden has waived executive privilege for anything involving Jan. 6 or the 2020 election.
“He is a greatest hits package of crazy statements by Donald Trump,” Litman said of Cipollone. “He is the one who says to Mark Meadows, ‘You know, if you do this, you’ll have blood on your effing hands.’ He’s the one who says to Mark Meadows about [Mike] Pence, ‘You’ve got to stop it’ and Meadows says, ‘You’ve heard him. He thinks the rioters are right.’ He’s the one who has to go to Cassidy Hutchinson, a 25-year-old, and plead with her because Meadows won’t speak to him. ‘Please try to keep him from going to the Capitol.’ He’s the one who says, ‘if I go to the Capitol, it will be every effing crime imaginable.'”
“Now, they’ve negotiated it up, and probably what he wants is to say he’s not piercing attorney/client privilege. But all these statements I’ve said to you, Trump’s nowhere around. So, attorney/client has to be with the client for the purpose of getting legal advice, so he’s got tons to say without that.”
As Litman explained, Cipollone is in “everything.”
See the discussion below.
Image: Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks via Flickr:
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump talk with Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, her husband Jesse Barrett, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, his wife Virginia Thomas, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and Deputy White House Counsel Kate Comerford Todd in the Blue Room of the White House Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, after attending Barrett’s swearing-in ceremony as Supreme Court Associate Justice.
Georgia DA Says ‘Possible’ Trump Could Be Subpoenaed, Lindsey Graham ‘Doesn’t Understand Seriousness’ of Investigation
The Fulton County, Georgia district attorney whose special criminal grand jury issued subpoenas to several members of Donald Trump’s legal team and Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday says she has not ruled out issuing a subpoena to the former president, and says more subpoenas are to be expected.
“I think that people thought that we came into this as some kind of game. This is not a game at all. What I am doing is very serious. It’s very important work. And we’re going to do our due diligence and making sure that we look at all aspects of the case.”
Willis convened a special grand jury to investigate possible election fraud or interference in the 2020 presidential election, after news broke that then-President Trump had called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking for an additional 11,780 votes to overturn the election results.
On Tuesday Willis’ grand jury subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, Lindsey Graham, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, Cleta Mitchell, Kenneth Chesbro, and Jacki Pick Deason.
Sen. Graham’s attorneys issued an angry statement on his behalf, calling the investigation a “fishing expedition,” decrying it as “all politics,” and claiming Willis is “working in concert” with the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
Graham until 2021 was the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and is one of Donald Trump’s top supporters.
“Senator Graham plans to go to court, challenge the subpoena, and expects to prevail,” the South Carolina Republican’s statement said.
“What do I have to gain from these politics?” Willis told NBC News, saying Graham is “someone who doesn’t understand the seriousness of what we’re doing. I hope he’ll come and testify truthfully before the grand jury.”
SCOTUS Justices Prayed With Evangelical Group Whose Legal Brief Was Cited to Overturn Roe Says Christian Activist: Report
A veteran Christian activist who works for a legal organization that has appeared on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups was caught on a hot mic bragging that she and the organization she works for prayed with the Justices inside the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a report by Rolling Stone. Conservative justices cited the organization’s brief in the decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.
The activist, “a prominent Capitol Hill religious leader,” Rolling Stone reports, “was caught on a hot mic making a bombshell claim: that she prays with sitting justices inside the high court. ‘We’re the only people who do that,’ Peggy Nienaber said.”
Calling the disclosure “a serious matter on its own terms,” Rolling Stone says it “also suggested a major conflict of interest. Nienaber’s ministry’s umbrella organization, Liberty Counsel, frequently brings lawsuits before the Supreme Court. In fact, the conservative majority in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which ended nearly 50 years of federal abortion rights, cited an amicus brief authored by Liberty Counsel in its ruling.”
Separately, NCRM has unearthed video from 2019 (below) that shows a woman who identifies herself as Nienaber bragging, “and yes, we go in and pray with the Justices.” She says she is Vice President of Faith & Liberty in the video. Rolling Stone reports “Nienaber is Liberty Counsel’s executive director of DC Ministry, as well as the vice president of Faith & Liberty, whose ministry offices sit directly behind the Supreme Court.”
Liberty Counsel was founded in 1989 by attorneys Mat Staver and Anita Staver, who are married. The organization has represented Rowan County (Kentucky) Clerk Kim Davis, and hate group head Scott Lively. They call their organization a Christian ministry, as Nienaber can be heard saying on the hot mic.
“You actually pray with the Supreme Court justices?” a livestreamer identified as Connie IRL can be heard asking in the video.
“I do,” Nienaber responds. “They will pray with us, those that like us to pray with them.”
“Some of them don’t!” Nienaber adds, not disclosing which ones.
The livestreamer then asked if Nienaber ministered to the justices in their homes or at her office. Neither, she said. “We actually go in there.”
“In other words,” Rolling Stone reports, “Sitting Supreme Court justices have prayed together with evangelical leaders whose bosses were bringing cases and arguments before the high court.”
Rolling Stone reports Mat Staver denied the claim as “entirely untrue,” but NCRM has unearthed a 2019 video in which a woman who identifies herself as and looks like Nienaber, standing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, also brags: “and yes, we go in and pray with the Justices.”
You can watch that video below or at this link:
Rolling Stone adds more bombshell reporting, saying that “the founder of the ministry, who surrendered its operations to Liberty Counsel in 2018, tells Rolling Stone that he hosted prayer sessions with conservative justices in their chambers from the late-1990s through when he left the group in the mid-2010s.”
Rob Schenck, who launched the ministry under the name Faith and Action in the Nation’s Capital, described how the organization forged ministry relationships with Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and the late Antonin Scalia, saying he would pray with them inside the high court. Nienaber was Schenk’s close associate in that era, and continued with the ministry after it came under the umbrella of Liberty Counsel.
Schenck told Rolling Stone exactly why the group wanted to pray with the Justices.
“To pray with the justices was to perform a sort of ‘spiritual conditioning,’ Schenck explains. ‘The intention all along was to embolden the conservative justices by loaning them a kind of spiritual moral support — to give them an assurance that not only was there a large number of people behind them, but in fact, there was divine support for very strong and unapologetic opinions from them.'”
Read the entire report here.
- News2 days ago
‘Impeach Justice Clarence Thomas’: More Than One Million Signatures as Petition Goes Viral
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM1 day ago
Putin’s ‘Iron Doll’ Says Russia ‘Will Have to Think Whether to Re-Install’ Trump ‘Again’: Report
- News2 days ago
Trump Celebrates Fourth of July by Attacking His Enemies as Biden Hails the American ‘Idea’ of ‘Hope’
- News2 days ago
‘The American People Are on Our Side’: Democrat Offers Idea to Save Women’s Freedoms
- News1 day ago
‘This Is a Business’: New Footage of Trump Family Emerges From Jan. 6 Investigation
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
GOP Nominee for Illinois Governor Offers Prayers Then Quickly Dismisses July 4 Mass Shooting: ‘Let’s Move On’
- CRIME2 days ago
Who Is the Highland Park July 4th Mass Shooting Person of Interest? ‘Obsession With Mass Death and Nihilism’
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM1 day ago
Trump Endorsed Pro-Gun GOP Nominee Apologizes After Urging People to ‘Move On’ Hours After July 4 Mass Shooting