A few weeks ago, the news and social media were flooded with Milo Yiannopoulos. For those who may be unaware of who he is (as I was not too long ago), Milo Yiannopoulos was an editor for Breitbart News, which is a network that speaks for the far-right. But to describe Yiannopoulos in the way that he is best known, he is a professional provocateur.
The overflowing news about Yiannopoulos began when a video from about a year ago was released of him brushing off and condoning pedophilia that some Roman Catholic priests committed. He pushed beyond the boundaries that even alt-rights could handle—an action that cost Yiannopoulos his position to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and a lucrative book deal, and ultimately led to his resignation from Breitbart.
Because I originally had no clue who Yiannopoulos was, I did some more reading on him, and watched a few of his interviews. Mind you, Yiannopoulos is anti-feminism, anti-gay rights and probably anti-anything so as long as it gets people all rattled up and flustered. Yet in all of the interviews, there he was, dressed rather androgynously and very open about being gay himself.
I was confused at how Yiannopoulos can be the way he is—a living, breathing contradiction. But that is his point. He believes that he and everyone else should be able to say what they please, and it doesn’t matter with which groups or parties they are associated.
Yiannopoulos’ persistence about free speech made me think twice. Americans don’t have free speech? Of course we do; free speech is part of the foundation of this country. But when I thought some more on the issue, I realized that free speech among the liberals has become an issue.
I have from time to time wondered how ineffective the few riots, involving burning, breaking of windows, and screaming and shouting have been throughout various university campuses in response to Trump. I do not blame people for being so angry. There is a lot at stake. The Affordable Care Act could be replaced by a healthcare plan that will cause many Americans to lose their insurance. Whatever progress was made with reproductive health could also be destroyed. Dark Ages, here we come again! There is a lot to be angry and worried about. Many think that we have to voice our opinions and our frustrations and be loud, or else no one will hear.
I agree with the voicing our opinions part, but the way in which these things are being done currently is ineffective. With every little offensive remark, people become fired up and hot-headed. They give the alt-right the opportunity to justify the belief that liberals (and the many millennials who make up the liberal population) are incompetent little children who don’t care about their country, just about their own selfish needs.
Well, prove them wrong! Prove them wrong by not becoming offended or insulted by every little comment that may go against your beliefs. Don’t block every single conservative who appears on your newsfeed. See what the people who oppose you have to say. Read about why a large portion of this country voted for the potential horror that could take place for the next four years. If you do not listen to them, how can you expect them to listen to you?
Only through exchanging ideas can people learn more about their world, can people find flaws in their own beliefs or strengthen them. That does not mean they are right, or that you must agree, but merely that you show up for civil discourse. We cannot fight ignorance by being ignorant.