From commentator Jonathan Alter’s frightening editorial about the return of corporate loyalty oaths à la Senator Joseph McCarthy to new reports about the blacklisting of Hollywood stars like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem for their support of Hamas, Glenn opened this morning’s radio program with a simple message: We need more speech – not less.
Historically, what has made America great is the freedom of expression – without fear of persecution – that has existed here. As Glenn explained, we must do everything in our power to ensure we do not jeopardize that freedom.
Below is an edited transcript of the monologue:
Here’s the thing: Everybody wants to belong to something. Everybody wants to belong to something that is really truly great. They want to believe in America – not the flag or the F16s doing a fly over – but humble, meek, charitable, open, diverse America. A place where the greatest minds like Einstein and Tesla came. They came here because they could dream, and they could build. A place where you could change your station in life with big ideas and hard work, ethical living. A place where you’re not afraid of thugs – be it those thugs that are in gangs in streets or those who show up at your door in the middle of the night with suits and a dark uniform.
We believe in America where we can trust our neighbors even though we may be different, ethnically, religiously, or otherwise. If they’re in trouble, we run to their aid. We all want to live in a place like this, where we don’t spy on each other, we don’t turn on our neighbors and our coworkers, and we don’t turn them in to some secret police. We all believe in an America where everyone is free to practice their religion to raise their children how they see fit and question the government if we disagree. We believe in a place where you have a responsibility to question our government or any other government, if we feel it is truly deeply wrong – especially when it is a matter of life, death, or war. We all want to live in a country where we are all free to speak our mind.
Hopefully, we will do it responsibly. But, as I demonstrated, we don’t always make it. But that should be our goal and express our viewpoints and do so without fear of government retaliation against us. Understanding that there is always a price to pay for the truth. The truth will set you free, but it will usually make you miserable first. Nobody wants to really hear the truth. So you’re going to pay a price for telling it. Even if it is the truth just as you perceive it, you should be able to say it.
Don’t we all want to live in a place where we don’t create blacklists for those who are saying how they feel? Blacklists are wrong. It was wrong in McCarthy era in the 1950s. It is wrong now. From global warming extremist calling for actual jail time for those saying, ‘I don’t believe you have this right,’ to now Hollywood creating a blacklist for those who speak out in favor of Hamas. Penelope Cruz, what she said last weekend is wrong – dead wrong. But now Hollywood is talking about putting a blacklist together for her. I strongly oppose what Ms. Cruz said last weekend, but I strongly support and encourage the strengthening of her right to say it. I believe what she said this last weekend is not only wrong, I believe she is actually aiding some of the worst genocidal psychopaths the world has seen since the 1930s. However, just because I believe that does not mean I believe we should become everything we have always despised by becoming fascists ourselves.
I would like to remind Hollywood before they start making blacklists: While many in Hollywood celebrate Che Guevara, let’s remember that Che not only blacklisted, but then arrested all those who disagreed with him and his political cronies. And then he actually enjoyed killing them. Poets, musicians, shopkeepers, and even children – he enjoyed pulling the trigger himself because they disagreed.
In America, we all know, we do not go down the path of loyalty oaths and blacklists. We do not have secret lists. We do not silence others. When you start to silence, it always ends in very bad places. Always. Every time. Always. While each of us have a choice as an individual on how to spend our time, our money, who we feel free to associate with, we must rise above the urge to destroy as the collective. And now in Hollywood they are talking about blacklists and putting people on the blacklists that I firmly disagree with. But I will stand shoulder to shoulder with them today. I prefer myself – and maybe it’s just me – to know where people actually stand.
I actually believe in more speech, not less speech. I appreciate people like Penelope Cruz who actually have the courage to speak their minds even though it’s going to be unpopular. We should all seize the opportunity to question with boldness because, when she speaks out, that’s what happens. She’s giving us the opportunity to find out what we really believe in.