In the political world, it seems that half the battle is winning the messaging fight. For example, Republicans hate the poor because they want lower taxes which means cutting welfare funding. The Democrats have convinced a large portion of Americans that Republicans don’t like poor people because they want you to keep more of your own money. It makes no sense… but the image sticks because the Democrats won the “messaging” fight. The same thing is happening with the “war on women” and the healthcare debate.
This messaging battle happens on much smaller issues too. We see it in the naming of the Obamacare legislation. The Republicans (and most of America) call the legislation “Obamacare,” a messaging win for conservatives; but the Democrats passed the law as “the Affordable Healthcare Act,” a messaging win for liberals.
We also see it on college campuses and other public grounds. Public property is becoming the front line in the war on constitutional liberties, and our public schools and colleges are a part of this struggle.
Recently, Chris Morbitzer, a student at the University of Cincinnati wanted to gather signatures on his campus for a right-to-work ballot initiative. The school is a public university, so in all honesty, the student shouldn’t have even needed to ask permission — but he did. The school told him that he could not gather signatures anywhere but in the assigned “free-speech” zone. In fact, he was told that if he or his group was seen gathering signatures outside of the “free-speech” zone they would be arrested by campus police.
Appalled at the threat of force being used for practicing his constitutionally protected right, Morbitzer sued the school system for violating his constitutional right to free speech.
Free Speech zones sound like nice ideas on the surface, but when you dig a little deeper the obvious question should be, “Why do we need these?” We already have a guaranteed right to almost absolute free speech, so why would “free speech zones” be necessary on public grounds? The reason is simple and it’s the same one that exists for many government policies – power. The government is constantly seeking to exert its power over us, and free speech zones are just another example of that.
Do us all a favor, when you see a “free speech zone,” exercise your 1st Amendment rights and step outside their box to use your freedom of speech.