Donald Trump should be allowed talk. The First Amendment trumps inflammatory speech no matter what the critics say. Personally I believe what Trump is really doing is catapulting his party back into the past at the worst possible time for them. He has raised the ghosts of the Know Nothings and the Ku Klux Klan.
But let him live by their words rather than seek to censor them. As immigrants know, America’s first amendment can be seen so much more favorably in the light of the freedom of speech laws in other countries.
In Britain there are “:” notices where the government can downright ban an article from appearing for national security reasons most recently done during the Wikileaks scandal.
In Ireland, for decades the government kept Sinn Fein off the airwaves to allegedly contain the violence. Gerry Adams even had an impersonator mouth his lines on television. The ventriloquist turned out to be the first unemployed casualty of the peace process.
Th British ban on Adams' voice only fractured when Gerry Adams appeared on Larry King's program during his historic trip to America in 1994 and the program was beamed into Britain. The British learned the hard lesson of the First Amendment reality that night.
Trump and his campaign carry-on is not unknown territory. We know the path to power in America and we think we know the rules. When we look at history we can see that we have been here before. Trump is nothing but the same old story.
He has had his predecessors: the Know Nothings, who along with the Ku Klux Klan, were determined to keep immigrants, especially Irish Catholics out and keep America white and Protestant. At one point they attacked the the old St Patrick's Cathedral and only the intervention of the AOH, led by Archbishop John “Dagger” Hughes from Tyrone, saved the church from being burned to the ground.
In the modern era, John F Kennedy faced down religious bigotry. When Kennedy ran for president, leading Protestant preacher Norman Vincent Peale stated vociferously, “Faced with the election of a Catholic our culture is at stake.”
JFK shut Peale up and finished the Catholic/Protestant debate when he faced 400 Protestant ministers in Houston and said:
“I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic candidate for president.” End of the issue. Free speech survived.
Like anti-Catholicism, the Klan faded at least until Trump revived them in national debate recently. The Know Nothings aren't a million miles from the outlook of many Trump followers – America for Americans. Let's make America white again.
Somehow all such crises and such demagogues in the past were overcome and the free press and free speech reigned.
Father Charles Coghlan, who was a notorious anti-Semite, was eventually put off the air.
Even during the Cold War when the Soviet Union got the atom bomb and Joe McCarthy was running riot, seeings 'reds under the bed' everywhere, the American system set up by the founding fathers prevailed and McCarthy was eventually discredited. The lesson throughout about Trump is, even though he’s a penny ante Mussolini with policies that border on incitement and a man who doesn’t hesitate to use violent language, better Trump speak than be able to claim censorship.
The media of course is already facilitating him carrying every speech live while pretending to be horrified at the violence.
But talk of preventing him speaking runs afoul of one of the great foundations stones of American democracy: speak your truth unabashed, let the people judge.
With Trump they will surely have their say.