The California Democratic Party passed a resolution that appeared to radically redefine the First Amendment at its state convention last weekend.
The party appeared to outright reject the notion of legal protection for political speech they don’t like, instead openly affirming a belief that First Amendment protections exclude “hate speech.”
Resolution 19-05.94 read as follows:
“WHEREAS, Protecting First Amendment rights is critical, but is also limited to exclude hate speech using the concept that offending statements first should be viewed through the lens of the party experiencing the hate, and that Jews, LatinX, African-American, Asian Pacific Islander, Muslims, Disabilities and LGBTI communities can be targets of oppression and hate speech for a variety of reasons.”
Such a conditional interpretation of the First Amendment would radically redefine America’s free speech tradition, and leave the door open for governmental censorship of any and all speech that liberals and progressives find objectionable, for any reason. It’s essentially a convenient way to institute a de facto repeal of the First Amendment.
It’s hard to describe the California Democratic Party’s anti-First Amendment resolution as anything other than a major American political party turning its back on one of the foundational principles of American political culture, embodied in the constitution.
Colorado Governor and Presidential Candidate John Hickenlooper spoke at the convention, and was booed by attendees for rejecting a vision of socialism in his convention speech.
Further language within the California Democratic Party’s minutes suggests a contentious debate within the party on Israeli-US relations. Resolution 19-05-93 seemed to walk a rhetorical tightrope between defending criticism of Israel and condemning perceived anti-semitic criticism of Israeli policy.
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