Civics 101

A couple years ago, when my daughter and her husband were still talking to me (during our years of completely amiable relationships), my daughter surprised me by saying that my support of the National Rifle Association upset her greatly. When I asked what it was about the NRA, she promptly told me, (parroting Hillary Clinton) that the NRA was “nothing but the gun lobby.”

I had to explain to my 45 year-old daughter that “NRA lobbying” isn’t an evil activity — it’s covered in our Bill of Rights (the right to petition government — done by every party and a bunch of legitimate groups). She said nothing, either because she didn’t know what I was talking about or had already accepted the automatic assumption of illicit activity on the part of the NRA whose actual history is 90% non political, 90% about gun safety and gun sports and gun ownership in general.

But most important to me: her reaction and that of her Berkeley California dwelling husband has been to cut off all communications with me completely. Like snapping a light switch off, just like that.

Given the recent spate of censoring by tech providers of public discussion (Facebook, Twitter), of self publishing (YouTube), probably I’ll have to explain to her and many others that “the right to censor” doesn’t exist “even for” owners of public forums. And not among family members, either.

That would be like someone inviting you in and then putting a gag on you because “you are on their property and in their house.” In practice they just “ban you” from accessing their public website. Hosts who advertise being public HOSTS don’t have the right to “check our facts” and then kick us out because they decided what we say or write isn’t to their liking. Bar owners may kick patrons out only if they’re violent or present a risk of violence or are committing a crime on their property. Because that’s legitimate, they can also report the former “guest” to the police. None of that applies to taking such action against people they merely disagree with.

If we invite people to our restaurant (through advertising), the the implied contract says no one may be excluded, certainly not because of race. So why don’t the proud champions of equal access for minorities understand they’re imposing their own prejudice against, for example, people who support Donald Trump? It’s easy for us to see they only want to unjustly discriminate against a group that’s about equal in size to their own: Trump supporters. It’s valid to say it’s a crime to take any such actions against someone who’s just wearing a MAGA hat. Is it valid to kick out a person they don’t like? Is it valid to kick the people who’re friends of the un-liked person out?

That’s unjustified discrimination. That’s illegal.

My daughter’s support for that kind of discrimination, as I said, is also unjustified and should be illegal. We have reached the point where people like her actually believe they are justified. Who failed to educate all these college educated people on the topic of civil duty and civil rights?

This is Civics 101 — That’s what I told my college educated daughter. That’s what she and a few million other college grads missed (or were never told!). We are citizens of the United States of America — does it not follow that we also have the duty to learn how to be citizens of the greatest nation in history?

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Jack R. Noel

Everything from business executive to grocery clerk and published writer. Now retired and able to get back to my first love: writing.