Michelle Malkin: Freedom of assembly under fire | TribLIVE.com
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Michelle Malkin: Freedom of assembly under fire

Michelle Malkin
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People fly into the air as a vehicle is driven into a group of protesters demonstrating against a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Aug. 12, 2017.

Do law-abiding American citizens still have the right to gather peacefully to discuss their ideas without fear of government censorship and retribution?

In my adopted hometown of Colorado Springs, the answer is “no” if you believe in strict border control or question whether the U.S. can survive as a nation-state. The answer is “no” if you wish to meet with others to express concern about the unsustainability of current U.S. immigration policy. The answer is “no” if you dare to speak unvarnished truths about the deleterious security and economic impacts of illegal immigrants, Third World and sharia-promoting Muslim refugees, temporary guest workers, chain migration beneficiaries, diversity visa lottery winners, and legions of unassimilated and unvetted visitors and other visa holders from around the world.

In spring 2017, award-winning journalist and former Hoover Institution media fellow Peter Brimelow and his educational nonprofit VDARE reserved the Cheyenne Mountain Resort for a conference on immigration and sovereignty issues. A local far-left gadflylaunched an online petition condemning VDARE as a “hate group.” The petition threatened both the resort and the mayor, bellowing that “the residents of Colorado Springs will not support businesses that profit from hate groups and will not re-elect politicians hospitable to those hate groups!”

My syndicated column is also published by VDARE. So is Ann Coulter’s and Pat Buchanan’s.

VDARE hosts a vital and honest discussion of an “America First” immigration policy. Of course, I don’t agree with everything published on the site; neither do I agree with everything published on every op-ed page that has published my column. VDARE has never advocated violence or any illegal activity. The group counts foreign nationals, immigrants and members of racial and ethnic minorities among its contributors.

In mid-August 2017, obviously spooked by the violent outcome in Charlottesville, Va., Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers issued a chilling statement regarding the planned VDARE conference. While paying lip service to “freedom of speech,” Suthers rather unsubtly used his executive authority as the city’s top elected official to pressure local businesses against engaging with VDARE, its speakers and its supporters.

“I would encourage local businesses to be attentive to the types of events they accept and the groups that they invite to our great city,” Suthers warned. “The City of Colorado Springs will not provide any support or resources to this event, and does not condone hate speech in any fashion.”

Immediately after the mayor’s ominous decree, the resort canceled VDARE’s contract. The liberal heckler’s veto won. The Republican mayor, a purported constitutional conservative, blithely threw the First Amendment under the bus.

VDARE is fighting back against what Brimelow calls the “Totalitarian Left” (and its surrender-ist GOP enablers). Colorado conservative lawyer Randy Corporon, who represents the group in its civil rights lawsuit against the city, told me: “Mayor John Suthers’ statement made clear that Colorado Springs would not provide police protection to VDARE’s lawful gathering in a private facility because of his disagreement with the participants’ views. His statement led Cheyenne Mountain Resort to cancel VDARE’s long-contracted event in spite of significant lost profit and cash damages paid to VDARE by the resort. Meanwhile, violent, disruptive protest groups like antifa receive police protections as they threaten, injure and maim.”

Unfortunately, Suthers’ discriminatory crusade against immigration hawks is being subsidized by Colorado Springs taxpayers left in the dark about the threat their own mayor poses to the essential freedom of assembly. Who needs antifa with free speech-squelching tyrants bullying patriots from inside the halls of power?

Michelle Malkin is a syndicated columnist. Learn more at michellemalkin.com.

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