First, get power. Sec­ond, keep it.

The Saline Courier - - OPINION -

“Nobody has the right to not be of­fended. That right doesn’t ex­ist in any dec­la­ra­tion I have ever read. If you are of­fended it is your prob­lem, and frankly lots of things of­fend lots of peo­ple,” said Sal­man Rushdie, a Bri­tish au­thor who is best known for his 1988 book, “the Satanic Verses.”

The book was re­leased to crit­i­cal ac­claim in England, but in many Mus­lim coun­tries, it was con­sid­ered highly of­fense. Rushdie re­ceived death threats. Lib­er­als in Great Bri­tain and the United States were then crit­i­cal of Rushdie for not be­ing sen­si­tive to the feel­ings of Mus­lims.

There was talk of how peo­ple have the “right” not to be of­fended. There was even talk of amend­ing the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion grant­ing peo­ple the right not to be of­fended.

Here is the irony in this: In 1987, a pho­tog­ra­pher named An­dres Ser­rano pub­lished a pho­to­graph that de­picted a cru­ci­fix in the pho­tog­ra­pher’s urine. This photo was called the “Im­mer­sion” or “Piss Christ.” It won awards from a com­pe­ti­tion spon­sored by the Na­tional En­dow­ment of the arts, an agency of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Chris­tians were out­raged that their tax dol­lars were be­ing spent to pro­mote such an of­fen­sive pho­to­graph.

Those same lib­er­als who a year later would seek to give peo­ple the right not to be of­fended were telling Chris­tians to “suck it up” just be­cause they found a piece of art of­fen­sive.

The gen­eral an­tichris­tian re­ac­tion was “It is art, so get over it.” The left’s push against any of­fend­ing speech con­tin­ues. A Cal­i­for­nia school wants to re­move 83-year-old Ge­orge Washington mu­rals some be­lieve “trau­ma­tizes stu­dents and com­mu­nity members.”

The school, iron­i­cally named Ge­orge Washington High School in the San Fran­cisco Uni­fied School District wants to re­move “Life of Washington” mu­rals painted in 1936.

In one mu­ral, Washington is ges­tur­ing to­ward a group of ex­plor­ers who are walk­ing by the body of a pre­sum­ably de­ceased Na­tive Amer­i­can. The body is gray in color, not red as In­di­ans were por­trayed then.

In another mu­ral, Washington is next to sev­eral slaves per­form­ing var­i­ous types of man­ual la­bor.

The school district’s Re­flec­tion and Ac­tion Work­ing Group has de­ter­mined that stu­dents need to be “pro­tected” from these mu­rals. I guess this group never heard that those who don’t learn from his­tory are doomed to repeat it. We should add on to that those of us who have learned from his­tory are doomed to watch those who didn’t learn repeat the mis­takes of the past.

In another ex­am­ple, South Bend Mayor Pete But­tigieg who is run­ning for pres­i­dent as the first openly gay can­di­date in the Demo­crat’s pri­mary, is at­tack­ing Found­ing Fa­ther Thomas Jef­fer­son.

But­tigieg says Jef­fer­son’s name should be re­moved from all pub­lic build­ings. “Mayor Pete” as peo­ple who can’t pro­nounce his last name call him, said: “There’s a lot, of course, to ad­mire in his (Jef­fer­son’s) thinking and his phi­los­o­phy, but then again if you plunge into his writ­ings, es­pe­cially the notes on the state of Vir­ginia, you know that he knew slav­ery was wrong.”

His ar­gu­ment is that Jef­fer­son, who served as the na­tion’s third Pres­i­dent did not abol­ish slav­ery so he should be wiped from the his­tory books.

His­tory tells us slav­ery was a very di­vi­sive is­sue. It would not be abol­ished until Abra­ham Lincoln, the 16th pres­i­dent, did it and it took a Civil War to make that hap­pen.

Jef­fer­son was also one of the founders of the Demo­cratic Party. But­tigieg wants to strike his name off the Demo­crat an­nual fundrais­ing events known as “Jef­fer­son­jack­son Din­ners.”

Per­haps his cen­sor­ship of his­tory isn’t about pro­tect­ing peo­ple from be­ing of­fended that slav­ery once ex­isted. Could it be that he wants to scrub his­tory of the un­pleas­ant fact that Democrats were the party that pro­tected slav­ery from the found­ing of the na­tion to the Civil War? The bottom line is that guar­an­tee­ing peo­ple are pro­tected from be­ing of­fended can’t ex­ist with the First Amend­ment free­dom of free speech.

The First Amend­ment was writ­ten so there could be an open exchange of ideas.

If there is only one set of ideas that can be pre­sented and be­lieved by all, there is no free­dom of speech. There is a dic­ta­tor­ship.

In any dic­ta­tor­ship, the control of speech and thoughts is used to en­force the first two rules of power.

The first rule is: Get power. The sec­ond rule is: Keep power at any cost.

JIM HAR­RIS Con­ser­va­tive Cor­ner

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