Happy Days Are Here Again is the song that Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his team used for his 1932 presidential campaign.
Can’t tell you when I first heard it and I am not sure that really matters because at the moment the song I hear is different, something closer to Angry Days Are Here Again.
The thought popped into my head out of the blue or at least I think it did, but chances are that is not entirely true.
Chances are it’s tied into some deep seated thoughts that have been percolating around the darker corners inside my head.
I suspect the thing that made it pop up to the surface was how I felt after I read some exchanges between people about the people protesting Donald Trump’s campaign blocking highways.
Testing The Strength Of Free Speech
heard read people say they are obligated to shut Trump down because they don’t just think he is awful, they think he is dangerous.
It got me thinking about a bunch of things.
I am not a Trump supporter and I really hope he doesn’t get the nomination, let alone wins the election.
But I am also a firm believer in the right to free speech and think that trying to prevent him from speaking or keep people from hearing him is a slippery slope we ought to avoid.
My children and I have spoken about free speech and its limitations because they do exist and they did long before Trump came on the scene.
They know the basics such as you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater and that you cannot advocate for the violent overthrow of the government.
I think about these things in the context of what I have heard, read and seen coming from these Trump rallies because he really does seem to be fomenting hate and violence.
I think about it and wonder how close he is coming to the limitations that do exist upon our right to free speech.
He may be a jerk, a jackass and a bigot but none of those things provide the context for stopping him from speaking.
Instead they provide reasons why his speech should be responded to.
I remember one of my college professors speaking about a concept called The Marketplace of Ideas.
He said that former US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. talked about the idea that free discourse would provide a marketplace of ideas and that the best would rise to the top.
We talked about whether that was naive and or idealistic and if memory serves concluded it made sense.
That doesn’t line up with much of what I see and hear now.
That is because we are living during a time when many people think it is their right not to be upset or offended by things they don’t like.
A time when it is considered to be righteous to try and kill those messages/movies/shows/ideas because ignoring or changing the channel/station just isn’t good enough.
I see comments all the time from people on Facebook about how they mute or unfollow people they disagree with.
Part of me doesn’t have any problem with that and part of me really questions it because if you only associate with those you agree with and never challenge your thoughts/ideas you miss out on opportunities for growth.
I joined one of the discussions about the Trump protesters that were blocking traffic in Arizona and voiced my displeasure with that particular tactic.
I don’t like blocking traffic because you have no idea if you’ll prevent emergency services from doing their jobs.
Hell, you don’t know if you’ll prevent an average person from getting to their own job or what the consequences of that would be.
It didn’t take long for some of those discussions to get nasty and for angry words to be exchanged. Civil discussion ended quickly and I heard that song playing, except Angry was substituted for Happy.
The anger is deep and it is palpable.
The anger can be dangerous too as it leads to poor decision making.
It concerns me because it is not limited to just one group or another. I see it coming from both sides of the aisle.
We need to do better. We need to be able to have civil conversations and talk to each other