Trump’s First Amendment rights were NOT violated; the power of convention delegates; Underground Railroad on TV; avoiding “ugly history”

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So during and after the events in Chicago on Friday night there were a lot of people that were insisting that Trump’s first amendment rights were violated by the protestors. Trump said it, of course, but so did many journalists and pundits. I was screaming at the TV in frustration every time I heard that repeated, and I even Tweeted to a couple of those that I heard say it, insisting that they were absolutely wrong (a lot of good that did). Listen, what happened in Chicago was wrong on many levels,  and I would be the last person to condone protestors shouting down and shutting down a campaign rally (Yes, even that maniac’s ), but what happened the other night was NOT a violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. The Constitution protects us from the GOVERNMENT taking away our freedom of speech, not private citizens, or even our employer. This seems to be a huge misunderstanding that people have in this country, because we repeatedly have moments like this when there is a wide-spread outcry about freedom of speech violations in situations in which there are none. So let’s be clear: if the government forces us to shut up when we criticize it, THAT would be a violation of the First Amendment. If you say something that gets you fired, or causes other people to shout you down until you shut up, that is NOT. Let’s focus on the person who is recklessly responsible for creating the environment of violence at his rallies, and stop saying his free speech was violated.

Here’s another good essay which seeks to explain what a contested convention is, and does a good job of educating us in advance for what may very well happen this summer in Cleveland. Bottom line: “people often forget that in the end it is the delegates who award a presidential candidate the nomination. And, here’s the kicker: there is no law anywhere that says these delegates can’t do exactly what they want to do if a majority of them decide.”

Interesting review here of the new series from WGN, Underground. I’ve been a bit worried about the show because of the potential I feel the subject matter has for further engraining the popular perception that only slaves that resisted by running away or getting involved in a rebellion were heroic. Based on this review from the Journal of the Civil War Era’s blog, however, it appears that the show’s depiction of slavery may be a bit more nuanced than that. I have the first episode recorded and will definitely check it out now.

Matthew C. Hulbert has a thoughtful essay up today that jumps into the debate about monument removal, but also the attempt by many to avoid what he labels our “ugly history.” (I will forgive his misuse of the word “literally.” I am also very excited about his forthcoming book, because I have long been interested in the subject of the connection between the Civil War and the postwar violence of the American West).

Imagine that you are hiking and you just happen to stumble on an artifact so rare that there is only one other like it in the world, and it is in the British Museum in London. That is is exactly what happened to one woman in Israel.

 

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