I don’t think there’s any other way to describe it: a month ago Brandon Straka changed my life. From the moment I saw his #WalkAway video I knew I’d been waiting for someone to deliver his powerful message advocating for free thought and real inclusion.
His words couldn’t be more needed right now given what recently happened to Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk in Philadelphia. Just a few days ago they were openly, verbally attacked on the streets by a screeching, screaming mob, ultimately requiring police protection. (Kudos to those officers for showing such incredible restraint as the crowd hurled obscenities at them as well.)
There’s nothing wrong with challenging your opponents to a debate, but shouldn’t that be at a location and time of your mutual choosing? I’ve spoken about this point in the past: what does it say about your ideology that you would openly harass people in the streets?
How do you think that wins more people over to your side?
For the past 18 months I’ve watched as the party I’ve identified with my entire life becomes the monsters they claim to fight. I felt helpless and silenced until the day I saw Brandon’s video and decided to make my own. My story about feeling ostracized by my family resonated with others in ways I didn’t expect and I’m touched by the reaction to my emotional message.
But the example set in Philly two days ago is a stark reminder of what made me turn away from the party I’ve belonged to since I was 18, the party of my parents and the majority of my friends. My decision to walk away comes down to one fundamental issue: freedom of speech. To me that means freedom of thought and the freedom to express those thoughts free from harassment.
Back in 2016 I watched election night in tears as my side lost to a racist that makes fun of disabled people (that myth is a #WalkAway reason in and of itself). Later I rejoiced at the photos of his inauguration barely filling the mall… until I saw the destruction that occurred in DC streets that day and I first began to have a nagging feeling that something wasn’t right. We all have the right to protest, we have the right to speak our minds, we do not have the right to act like spoiled children, tipping cars and smashing windows.
I’ve since learned protesters were physically blocking their fellow Americans from entering the inauguration celebration, thus making it look smaller than it was. But the press chose to ignore the suppression of others’ right to assemble and instead opted to snap photos of the trickling crowd, misrepresenting to the nation what was really happening that day. I didn’t know about this at the time, but I hoped the violence was an isolated incident.
Until February of 2017 when a man I’d never paid attention to and knew nothing about named Milo Yiannopoulos tried to speak at Berkeley. Learning more about his harmless, sometimes critical views and seeing the footage of those students trying to destroy their own campus in reaction to them turned my stomach.
What happened to my party? What happened to equal rights for all?
Why are we not allowed to think and say whatever we want if we’re not advocating for violence? Why is it acceptable to verbally and violently attack people for having different views? We see it every time someone is attacked for wearing a MAGA hat, we see it every time someone expresses support for our president and is insulted, we see it when a black woman tries to have a breakfast meeting in Philly and is called a white supremacist by a group of white people.
The rejection of the First Amendment by the far-left and the utter silence or direct encouragement of it that we’re seeing from the Democratic establishment is what directly led to me walking away. Democrats are no longer the party of freedom and liberty for all and the more research I do into their history– I’m starting to doubt they ever were.