A bunch of woke residents of Illinois got their rainbow undies in a bunch when they found out that Awake Illinois, a conservative organization partnering with Moms for Liberty and Gays Against Groomers, was coming to speak at the city-owned Des Plaines theater. They showed up in a group to tell the city to shut down the event because it was being run by a “hate group.”
The city owns the venue but rents it out to a private entertainment company. It’s not clear if the city of Des Plaines has the authority to cancel an event based on the content, and it would in fact be very dangerous grounds for a government entity to take part in any silencing of speech.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that Awake Illinois really is hateful and bigoted and the biggest threat to gayness since Cindy Crawford. It wouldn’t matter under the law. The Supreme Court has continually ruled that in America, hate speech is free speech. Even lefty Justice Kennedy once wrote, “a law found to discriminate based on viewpoint is an ‘egregious form of content discrimination,’ which is ‘presumptively unconstitutional.’ … A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all. The First Amendment does not entrust that power to the government’s benevolence. Instead, our reliance must be on the substantial safeguards of free and open discussion in a democratic society.”
Justice Alito wrote in Matal v. Tam “[The idea that the government may restrict] speech expressing ideas that offend … strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.”
If the City of Des Plaines attempted to shut down Awake Illinois, it would face a very expensive lawsuit. But the wokesters don’t care. They just want the government to do their dirty work for them. At least one councilwoman, Carla Brookman, wasn’t having any of it, and it was truly glorious to watch her destroy the intolerance of the left. “The lack of tolerance that you people are demonstrating…it shows a real lack of tolerance for opposing opinions, viewpoints, or even conversation and discussion. If you don’t allow discussion that’s a real problem in our society today.” Watch her grill the protesters about the diverse panelists associated with Awake Illinois.
Despite the councilwoman’s valiant attempt to bring sanity to the table, the theater owner ended up canceling the event after he reported that he received violent threats. ABC News reported the story.
The theater’s operator said he doesn’t have a stance on either side of the issue; instead, he was just trying to do his job by offering a space for those to hold events. But his decision to host Awake Illinois received backlash.
“I was really proud to be able to provide an opportunity for a forum for some positive, hopefully positive, or what I thought would be possible discussions,” said operator Ron Onesti.
But instead it brought cascading concerns, and he said he canceled the event after receiving threats.
“It’s not my role to have a stance with these issues. I’m merely the venue,” he said. “They said they were going to bring guns and show you what it’s really about. It just got really, really bad involving all kinds of things, bullets and dog feces.”
This kind of behavior from the left has become pedestrian. If the government can’t be pressured into caving to the woke mob, the mob turns to thug tactics and threats. Awake Illinois is searching for a new venue for its event that helps teach parents how to keep their children from being groomed into the left’s ideology and sexuality in schools. There’s nothing hateful about parents trying to protect their children from insidious theology that will ultimately destroy their bodies in the name of the gender cult. Stopping parents from hosting these informational events should not be allowed.
But I have nothing but high praise for Councilwoman Brookman for boldly taking it right to the censors and telling them the truth.