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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

A Growing Trend of Absurd and Hypocritical Response to Fear


Much of the nation is in fear, and chaos is spreading in response to president Trump’s vision of a “Great America.” However, recently I have been noticing a tendency for many citizens to react in often irrational and hypocritical ways, which are dangerous because they seem to be aiding in the division of the nation when their intent is to fight against the threats to a harmonious and just society.

Looking through my Snapchat on Feb. 2, I stumbled on a popular Snapchat story that was available called “Berkeley Protest.” I was angered and astonished at seeing rioting at the University of California, Berkeley campus against Milo Yiannopoulos’ appearance as a public speaker. There was a mass of people armed with weapons, throwing huge objects, weapons, and fireworks at the school and setting off fires in opposition to a man’s free speech.

The protest, initiated as a peaceful response to Milo by the students at Berkeley, only became a violent riot when it was hijacked by about 150 masked anarchists from around the Bay Area.

The protest turned into a chaotic and destructive event, where people were screaming and declaring war, according to CNN. Someone even pepper sprayed a woman in the face, who is a Trump supporter but was wearing a satirical “Make Bitcoin Great Again” hat.

What amazed me was how this protest seemed to be displayed on Snapchat as some kind of celebratory protest against Yiannopoulos.

I get that this country is in a time of panic and uncertainty, a time where people are coming together to stand up against the things that feel threatening and unjust to them. And that is OK: the right to free speech and to peaceably assemble is a critical piece of the First Amendment.

But when we start throwing fire around and dress in black screaming and armed with dangerous weapons, calling people “Nazis,” it begins to look a little ironic to me. This is not what peaceful assembly looks like, especially when the protesters are using their “free speech” as a way to overpower and completely disrupt another man’s free speech. What makes it even more ironic is that Berkeley is a campus renowned for it being the “birthplace of free speech.”

What is so scary about listening to the other side? In the case of Milo Yiannopoulos, who often uses harsh and offensive speech to make his point, the right to protest peacefully about his presence is understandable. He is an extremely divisive figure after all, who has been in the news recently for big controversies.  But why must we be so ignorant and stubborn to other opinions—to other people—regardless if we like and agree with them or not, and allow violence to take over? The people who hijacked the student gathering are not protesters, they are plain and simple rioters.

This absurdity and hypocrisy in response to fear is becoming a trend. For example, at the Women’s March in DC, there were women who were spitting at and refusing the participation of women who wanted to march but were anti-abortion, according to The Blaze.

While I completely support the march and think it is righteous to stand up for women’s rights and against ways in which women tend to be treated as inferior to men, I do not agree with these actions. These anti-abortion women were looked at as repulsive and as a threat to the rights of women, despite being women themselves.

I thought that was completely contrary to the point of the march in general, where all women across the country are coming together and joining hands against the injustices they face in society—and in particular the demeaning attitude Trump has toward women. So are these anti-abortion women not being supported, too? Are they, just because they happen to believe something else, any less eligible to defend themselves in this march?

I realize that these women were only cruel and exclusive because now if anyone says they are anti-abortion, it is immediately seen as a threat to a women’s right to choose in that situation. It’s not seen as an acceptable point of view. And I do realize that anti-abortion beliefs are now especially threatening since Trump is doing his best to make sure abortion is illegal, but it is still wrong and hypocritical to exclude these anti-abortion women because they are women too, just women who have different opinions. And those opinions must be respected.

I think that the only reason these instances are brought to my attention is because there is a rise in unjust behavior and violence in response to others opinions. I am asking myself, why is a sixth grade boy being attacked on a school bus and receiving suspension from school for wearing a red Trump hat? A sixth grader. Yes, the one who was beaten up got suspended, not the ones who threw the punches—all because of a little difference in opinion.

These middle school students probably have no idea what is going on in the world, about politics or about Trump’s policies, but the hate that their parents, the media, and other influencers might show could really start to cause damage.

This is a phenomenon that needs to be addressed. We cannot use hate to extinguish hate or as an interference to a just and peaceful society, because it only creates more division and upheaval. These absurdities only create more hate and fear.

It is crucial to make mind of this because I believe that if we keep allowing people to abuse their right to free speech and act irrationally on account of fear, our communities will be in jeopardy. Things can easily escalate to become truly catastrophic and unsuccessful attempts at fixing the problems in society today.  It is a huge problem in our society and I rarely see it cautioned, only supported.

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A Growing Trend of Absurd and Hypocritical Response to Fear