Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon is trying to cancel a pro-Trump free speech rally and anti-Sharia march. Wheeler argues that a Friday incident in which a hate-filled stabbing left two men dead is indicative of the types of people who will attend the event.
The June 4th event is called a “Trump Free Speech Rally,” on June 10th a “March Against Sharia” are approved to take place at Shrunk Plaza in Portland. The federal government has final say over permitting at this location. But Wheeler wants the government to cancel the already approved permits:
“Our city is in mourning, our community’s anger is real, and the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate an already difficult situation,” Wheeler said.
In addition to reaching out to the federal government, Portland’s mayor appealed to the organizers of both events, which he described as “alt-right demonstrations,” and asked them to cancel their respective rallies.
“There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not now,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler’s request came after two men were fatally stabbed on a Portland commuter train Friday night. The victims, identified as Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, and Ricky John Best, 53, attempted to stop a man, Jeremy Joseph Christian, who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs at two women on the train.
There is no proof that Christian had any intention of attending either events. In fact, there is no indication Christian is even a Trump supporter. His social media accounts indicate he is a Bernie Sanders Supporter.
You either support free speech or you don’t. There is no exemption for so-called ‘hate speech’ in the Constitution. As objectionable as it is to see groups spewing hateful rhetoric, it is not a crime [I’m not saying that was what the rally organizers in this case intended]. When you start banning words and phrases you’re on a slippery slope. Many liberals see any expression of political opinions that are not in line with their own as hate speech. Giving power to such groups that seek to clamp down on opposing opinions is dangerous.
The Portland Mayor is trying to use a disturbing crime as an excuse to stop people from expressing their opinions. Even if we all hate what they have to say, they still have a right to free speech.
And to use the actions of a Bernie Sanders supporter to condemn Trump Supporter is beyond the pale of comprehension.