While Woodrow Wilson might not have actually said that The Birth of a Nation was like history written in lightning, he is definitely responsible for the following quote which appears in the film:”The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation…until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.”

A racist lie the equivalent of yelling “Fire!” in a theatre. Only with lightning.

The surrounding movie is a racist lie as well, but protected by Freedom of Speech. It caused a resurgence in the Ku Klux Klan and emboldened them to lynch black Americans, whose murders were inspired by a lie protected by Freedom of Speech. History and facts are just a difference of opinion, you know? And who can actually tell what a fire looks like. The trail of bodies is unrelated.

Recently, a man brought a gun to the pizza parlor Comet Ping Pong to protect the children Hillary Clinton was supposedly trafficking. The trafficking was a lie, of course, but Freedom of Speech means jockstraps like Alex Jones can push these unsubstantiated stories and yell “Fire!” loudly and constantly and then apologize when someone gets hurt and duck and cover behind Freedom of Speech.

No harm, no foul.

He didn’t know there actually wasn’t a fire in the theatre, okay? So the ensuing panic isn’t his fault. Whatever damage he caused was unintentional. The fact that he isn’t thoughtful or considerate when he speaks is okay, because he’s a champion of freedom of speech. Or something. Thinking isn’t a prerequisite for speech, after all. Maybe someday if he keeps yelling enough, he’ll be right about a fire. An army of monkeys can write Shakespeare if you just give them time. Be careful holding your breath.

Michael Savage is on record suggesting 99% of children with autism are faking it. That they are actually spoiled, he says. Gaming the system. Entitled. According to Savage, “They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life.’ “ He suggests fathers would help by telling them to ” ‘Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.’ “ Horrifying garbage, but this guy is a patriot, or something, because he says whatever he wants. Truth doesn’t matter, it’s just inspiring that the muscle in his mouth that we call a tongue works. Freedom of Speech, you know. The freedom to let ugly noise pollution out of your lips. It’s a revolution. Speak and you’re an American hero.

Our current President, a Michael Savage fan (Savage was a guest at Mar-a-Lago in February), says he always wanted a Purple Heart. Apt that he was handed one in this climate just by talking. By suggesting that guys who get captured and tortured and became POWs in wars fighting for America aren’t really heroes, because they got caught in the first place.

How embarrassing of them.

What should be embarrassing is having that thought in the first place. Airing it at all. But how terrific is it that this guy let his tongue rattle-tattle in his head and make all sorts of syllabic gurgles, and then stands by the mean and gutless nonsense that slops out. He’s got fortitude for not backing down, even if there isn’t a cause there. Inspiring that he doesn’t apologize or change or think. Conviction and courage isn’t what we admire. Mouth noise is. The President also says the previous President illegally wire tapped him.

Unsubstantiated and reckless speech.

You know: a lie. Written in lightning.

The President is a lighting storm, but it’s impressive because it’s flashy.

Vile and thoughtless and inconsiderate, but it’s got a strobe feature.

Suggesting a critical debate moderator had blood coming out of…somewhere. That maybe a political opponent, a Gold Star mother, wasn’t allowed to speak, because of a rigid and thoughtless and ill-informed view of Islam. But you know what? You don’t get points for thinking about what you’re going to say. By doing anything resembling research. What’s impressive is the saying part, and then standing by whatever crept out of the hole in your head. Have the courage to defend your nonsense and it’ll impress us, because we weren’t listening anyway.

Or maybe it’s worse than that. Maybe we don’t like thinking, but we love speaking, and we don’t like being called out and criticized by thoughtful counter-arguments. It hurts our feelings. Our current president is an avatar for that grudge-bearing part of our American soul.

We like guys who just say. Who don’t learn.

We never liked the Book of Virtues, and all of it’s admonitions for empathy. Empathy is hard, and pushing virtues on children is fascism or something, right?

Calling women fat pigs is fun. What’s more, it’s empowering. Freedom of Speech.

And if someone calls you out on your heinous garbage, well, they’re just being sensitive. Or worse: fascists. They’re censoring you! They don’t recognize your freedom of speech, huh? They’re politically correct. They’re the ones bringing you down. Social Justice Warriors, or what have you, ruining us by policing our speech.

By being thoughtful.

By being compassionate.

By being adults and utilizing the awesome power of freedom of speech responsibly.

By utilizing critical thinking, the subsequent criticism being the most powerful form of freedom of speech there is. Constructively using the gifts of language to build a better future, where we can empathize with people who aren’t like us even if we don’t understand them. Where we can call out people who are insensitive with their speech, and thoughtless, and protect those whose voices are small. Where we can be careful to not insult them. Where we can craft a better, thoughtful, more understanding world, where people aren’t lynched because of a film, where pizza parlors aren’t assaulted, where children with autism are treated with compassion and care, where the patriotism of Islamic military families aren’t questioned, where criticism isn’t blamed on menstruation.

Because you know what? Sometimes patriotism is criticism.

And one hundred per cent of the time, menstruation is the power to advance the species.

God have mercy on us for thinking that’s a weakness, while acting like the guy who can weather the criticism he invites and deserves has anything approaching strength.

Speech without content is meaningless.

Speech endorsing violence is worse.

But speech advocating truth and justice?

That’s supposed to be our American way.