By now some readers may be sick of seeing yet another column or story discussing the Washington Avenue Bridge “Build the Wall” mural and its subsequent defacement as well as President Kaler’s unsurprisingly noncommittal response. However, there’s one perspective that is largely absent from the narrative surrounding this event: The people who believe in building a wall at our southern border also believe, in their heart, that their position doesn’t stem from racism or xenophobia.
The closest thing we’ve seen to an endorsement of “Build the Wall” on campus — outside of the College Republicans’ snarky official statement — is students conceding that, yes, the sentiment is inherently offensive but it’s protected under the First Amendment. Is this an error in reporting? Or is “pro-wall” just a position that’s difficult to come by?
Whatever the case may be, I’m not the person to give that perspective as those are not my personal views. But I am curious what others think.
I will say this: Conceding “free speech” is a remarkably simple way for those not targeted by “Build the Wall” to shrug off the concerns of the people who are. Additionally, free speech solely for the sake of free speech — and with total disregard for the people affected — will almost certainly bring about a strong and emotional response from those who are opposed to what is stated.
While I’m opposed to the suppression of free speech, when you make a statement to provoke a response, you cannot be surprised when you get just that.