Americans Should Be Free to Express Their Opinions About Generals
The Indianapolis Star (Rashika Jaipuriar and Kaitlin Lange) reports that Twitter has removed Rep. Jim Banks’ tweet about “Dr. Rachel Levine, the nation’s first openly transgender four-star officer”:
The title of first female four-star officer gets taken by a man.
Twitter policy forbids “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.”
I for one do not welcome our new social media overlords. It seems to me that all civilian officials, and all citizens, have to be free to express their views about generals (and others). That is true even if the views express an ideology about gender identity that, though shared by tens of millions of Americans, is contrary to the views of the executives running Twitter or Facebook.
Of course, I appreciate that Twitter and Facebook are privately owned, and that no-one is being threated with jail or liability or loss of professional license here (though see the other situations described here, here, here, and here). But I think the Court was right in Packingham v. N.C., where it wrote:
A fundamental principle of the First Amendment is that all persons have access to places where they can speak and listen, and then, after reflection, speak and listen once more. The Court has sought to protect the right to speak in this spatial context. A basic rule, for example, is that a street or a park is a quintessential forum for the exercise of First Amendment rights. Even in the modern era, these places are still essential venues for public gatherings to celebrate some views, to protest others, or simply to learn and inquire.
While in the past th
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