By Sarah Myers, Staff Writer and Nathan Watson, Opinions Editor

This weekend’s antics at the Trump rallies in St. Louis and Chicago have highlighted a sad truth: the current proponents of far-left, liberal ideology are destroying the very foundations of liberal democracy and the open dialogue on which true democracy must be based.

In anticipation of the pivotal Missouri primary on March 15, Trump’s campaign scheduled a rally here in St. Louis, the state’s largest metropolitan area. Unsurprisingly, news of his upcoming arrival was met with great anticipation, both positive and negative. With thousands of supporters lining up just to attend the rally, the extent of his support was obvious. Yet, even more visible was the opposition, most notably the Black Lives Matter movement.

Eager to respond to Trump’s—often, admittedly, inflammatory—rhetoric, many on the left, including the Black Lives Matter movement, sought to do their part in restoring justice by disrupting the democratic process and shutting down public discourse. In doing so, they have blatantly disowned the ideologies that their ancestors so bravely fought for.

Why does Trump deserve less of an opportunity to speak or gain votes from the citizens who support him? Is it because some of his policies are “offensive?” Does taking offense (keep in mind, offense really can only be “taken,” for nothing is inherently offensive) suddenly make you entitled to special privilege?

More importantly, what good did the protesters hope to achieve by shutting down his rallies? Was their goal to dissuade voters from supporting Trump? What seems a more likely motivation is a sense of self-importance, seemingly reinforced by assuming some heroic role as bearers of justice.

In reality, the rise of candidates like Trump and the support he has garnered can in part be traced to the far-left’s very efforts to, through claims of oppression and a feigned sense of tolerance, silence the opposing voices of the Republican party.

To be clear, granting Trump and his supporters an open space for political action does not equate to support of his opinions. To allow Trump to speak does not mean supporting racism, bigotry, or any other idiotic ideology that forms the basis of Trump’s campaign rhetoric. What a commitment to this country’s values does mean is the resolution to confront opposing voices through dialogue and, most importantly, your own right to vote.

In years prior, the white patriarchy against which liberals rail was the one that suppressed opposing voices. These voices were effectively shut out of the media, social circles, and most other avenues of change. Now, in classic eye-for-an-eye fashion, the far left is using the exact same tactics to silence their opponents, the Republican Party.

If liberals get what they seem to be demanding and end up controlling free speech and the democratic process, our society, having resolved to police each other on the correct ways to think and speak, will become more like those very countries whose ideologies we have made it our duty to oppose. We will become a silent, eerie reflection of North Korean dictatorship—in our case, the idol to be worshiped will be the victimized holder of the prized ideology. No more will a person have the freedom to speak freely if their views are deemed politically “incorrect” and threaten to harm or offend someone’s opposing ideology.

Our society has not changed much. Although the far left thinks that they are promoting progressive values, the social structure is fundamentally the same, and the person on top is now the “politically correct” authority.

Social control and the shutting down of opponents’ arguments is not an effective strategy. Instead, we must empower democracy by developing rational rebuttals to dissenting opinions, promoting critical thinking, and placing more confidence in those powers instead of using force to impinge on the political actions of others.

Protesters against police brutality in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota Courtesy of Wikipedia
Protesters against police brutality in the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota
Courtesy of Wikipedia