There has been much attention lately about the appropriateness of offensive speech on college campuses and the larger issue of free speech in general. Americans seem to be all about free speech when it comes to their individual religious rights or political beliefs, but not so much when it comes to other people expressing their free speech on issues they disagree with (I offer my hate mail as evidence). We see this today with some people thinking it is all right to punish football players who are respectfully kneeling during the national anthem and with some college students thinking that it is all right to prohibit white supremacists and other hate groups from speaking on their campuses.

I have to chuckle when conservatives criticize “liberal college students” who, they say, need their “safe spaces” because they can’t handle opposing opinions. Of course, private conservative colleges such as Liberty University, run by Jerry Falwell Jr., and Regents University founded by Pat Robertson, bar their own students from speaking out on a multiple of issues. Conservatives not only need their “safe places” on college campuses, but their own campuses!


In America, free speech should mean free speech. Our nation should be about respecting the religious and political beliefs of others. This doesn’t mean we can’t disagree or protest those beliefs, but we need to allow others to speak and protest, too. Yes, I think that hate groups should have a place on any campus to express their views. After all, isn’t it better to know who they are and what they think than brush them under the carpet? How else can we have conversations and discussions to argue the other side?

Give President Trump credit for empowering and exposing American hate groups who demonstrate clearly that our nation is not as Christian, tolerant or welcoming as we like to pretend with our pledges and anthems.

When we restrict what people can or cannot say, as conservatives are quick to point out, it is a slippery slope to violating the values of our nation’s Constitution. Conservatives understand this point when it comes to the Second Amendment, but not so much with the First Amendment.

Censorship seems to be a growing problem everywhere, but the issue of political correctness is not limited to liberals or conservatives. The Trump administration demonstrates this regularly. While Trump likes to make fun of “political correctness” as expressed by liberals, his administration has its own political correctness and is a frequent violator of the First Amendment. For example, multiple media outlets have reported that three scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency were told that they could not speak at a climate change conference in Rhode Island a few days before they were scheduled to do so. One of them was selected to be the keynote speaker at the conference. The other two were presenting research findings (paid for by our taxes) regarding the effects of climate change on New England’s largest estuary, Narragansett Bay and watershed, where temperatures have risen 3 degrees Fahrenheit and where the water level has risen 7 inches over the past century.

So much for freedom of speech.

Also, reported by The New York Times, the EPA has removed dozens of links from its website related to climate change, including information available to local governments trying to deal with flooding issues. Do they think that climate change will go away if we don’t talk about it?

Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently reported that over the last 10 years the United States has spent $350 billion on the effects of global warming and that we will be spending about $160 billion per year in 20 years unless we take action to halt global warming. These costs are related to predicted increases in fires from rising temperatures and flooding from rising oceans.

The EPA also pretends that air and water quality are unimportant as they move to deregulate clean air and water regulations around the nation. The Trump administration recently announced that it will save $33 billion a year by rolling back regulations in the Clean Air Act. But, according to the OMB, premature deaths by poor air quality alone could cost the health sector up to $161 billion a year by 2050, and $930 billion a year by 2100. So Trump will save $33 billion at a cost of $161 billion by 2050 and $930 billion by 2100.

Limiting speech on climate change is not only unconstitutional, it is costly to our nation.