This week we’ve had a lot of dialogue about rights. Some of the messaging has gone afield of the core issues.
The band members who protested did so with a venue to reach 50,000 people live and thousands more on television coverage. They had a privilege that the average American citizen does not have. They do have a right to free speech – just as we all do – and they could exercise that right by distributing flyers, participating in lawful protests, speaking for their beliefs – as individuals. Not as representatives of ECU.
The band members who protested knowingly broke numerous codes of conduct to which they had agreed. Again, yes – we have rights to free speech guaranteed to us by the First Amendment. But we also have to respect the contracts we agree to – and these students broke that contract and suggested that their protest against our nation was endorsed by the university.
My message is that our university should support ALL OF OUR RIGHTS under the constitution. The rights were not listed in order of priority. They all have value and they should all be supported. One person wrote to me suggesting that we organize a campaign across campuses nationwide with the hashtag #allrightsmatter. I agree.
I have had many threats since the story broke that I support ALL rights. Some people believe that I am a threat – even though my stand is to support all rights and to be able to defend my own safety – and theirs if necessary. I’m saddened that there are people in our country who do not understand that no one should be a victim at the hands of the unlawful. I carry in defense. And I have a right to do so.
We must demonstrate our commitment to the constitution – and all of the rights it bestows upon America’s citizens.