I wonder what it was like living in the Persian empire at the time of the Purim story? For example, if you thought King Achashveros was wrong about something; what would happen if you spoke out about it? I think the obvious answer to that question would be best summed up in that most American of expressions… “Duh!”
Tyrants and absolute monarchs tend not to be enamored even one teeny bit with that idea contained in the First Amendment of the American Constitution, you know, the one about freedom of speech.
Take the example of Vajiralongkorn. That’s the name of the king of Thailand in case you didn’t know. He is the richest monarch on the planet (net worth a cool $30 Billion) His people are not allowed to criticize his rule. The monarch is protected by one of the strictest laws in the world and if you want to engage in a bit of First Amendment stuff in Bangkok you will find yourself swiftly in jail.
Or take one of the Middle East’s most, “lovable rascals” Receb Tayyib Erdogan. You will know him as the Islamic Fundamentalist with an affection for the Muslim Brotherhood and a hatred of Israel who is also the President of Turkey. If you criticize him, you can spend up to six years in prison to contemplate your folly.
So we Americans can thank our lucky stars that we don’t live in any of those sorts of places.
Well actually, despite the First Amendment, it is looking increasingly as though we do.
Rabbi Aryeh Lev Katzin is the Director of RAJE, the Russian American Jewish Experience. Recently we schmoozed together on a live Zoom broadcast about the cancer of the Left’s “Cancel Culture” now sweeping America. It turns out that the Russian Americans are very familiar with this tactic of destroying and removing people because of their beliefs. It was a standard practice in the Soviet Union.
The English comedian Rowan Atkinson compares it to “A medieval mob looking for someone to burn.”
The examples of this evil phenomenon are endless and of course particularly affect Academia, the Media and Hollywood. Few actors indeed would be willing to even hint that they do not march in lockstep with the Liberal agenda.
Social Media has exploded over one who did. She is called Gina Carano who recently starred in a Disney, Star Wars spinoff. Ms. Carano is a Conservative. When she tweeted comparing today’s political culture to Nazi Germany, she was fired for her, “abhorrent and unacceptable post.” It then emerged that her co-star, a Liberal had previously tweeted comparing ICE detention centers to Nazi concentration camps. He of course was not fired.
Two years ago, one of my students who was part of a theatre group posted something faintly innocuous but positive about President Trump.
She was savaged by her colleagues, threatened and bullied. Eventually she was fired for her “crime.”
Of course, she was devastated, traumatized and profoundly injured by this experience.
After a while she contacted me and shared both her story and the tweets and emails. She was unsure what she should do. Her friends and her family felt she should move on, forget about it and let time heal. I disagreed and advised her to sue the theatre and advised her how to go about it. She did so and won a great deal of money.
Today’s America is disturbingly not so dissimilar to the Shushan of old, or today’s Bangkok or Ankara after all.
From the world of academia to the world of the media, no criticism of the Left’s worldview will be tolerated. Under this new administration things can only get worse.
If you become a victim or you know someone who has, my advice to you is the same as I gave to that young student of mine; fight back. Investigate legal options and make businesses like Disney know what you think of their cowardice and hypocrisy.
I could live with myself if I never watched a Star Wars Movie.
I could live with myself if I never watched a Marvel Movie.
But I could never live with myself if I didn’t declare that I stand for Freedom of Speech and against the anti-American evil of firing those who practice it.
So it’s goodbye Mouse Ears… I’m DONE with Disney.