TikTok Threat Latest Attack on Expression
Donald Trump has launched a full-scale assault against our First Amendment rights.
His latest salvo is aimed at the teenagers who united to humiliate him last month. Trump is claiming that he is going to ban the wildly popular social-media application TikTok, the go-to app for Generation Z.
This comes after he sent an opaque paramilitary force to quell racial-justice protests in Portland, Ore. Furthermore, there are now reports that those federal agents both targeted journalists in the streets and created intelligence reports on those who published leaked documents.
Lest we forget, before virtually all international travel to the United States was severed on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump also banned Muslims from several nations from coming here.
Thus, this administration is attacking freedom of speech, the freedom to peacefully assemble, the freedom of the press and freedom of religion.
What else is there?
TikTok, an app in which users create, post and share brief videos, has been in some security experts’ crosshairs for a while due to the perception that it’s a potential national security threat. The business is Beijing-owned and is alleged to have ties to the Chinese government, which is currently at odds with the Trump administration.
But this threatened action against TikTok feels a lot more punitive against Americans than it does against the Chinese. A relatively unknown comedian, Sarah Cooper, has risen to national stardom with her hilarious videos lip-synching Trump’s failed attempts to speak coherently. Cooper now has two million followers on Twitter, and her videos are a smash hit.
Also, teenagers using the app embarrassed the president when they ordered up to a million tickets to his disastrous rally in Tulsa. The campaign touted an expected massive crowd, and even prepared for it, only to be stunned when just 6,600 people appeared.
As it turns out, those TikTok teens should be given medals of honor for their heroism, because their action likely saved countless lives. Former presidential candidate Herman Cain, who attended the rally and didn’t wear a mask, was hospitalized with coronavirus just nine days later and died from complications of it this week.
TikTok is also the preferred avenue for 15-year-old Claudia Conway -- daughter of Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway -- to air her public grievances against her mother and her mother’s boss.
Meanwhile, the situation in Portland appears to be settling down now that federal agents are finally departing the city. But the events of the last two weeks there will leave an indelible impression for years to come.
We have seen mothers and military veterans -- or as Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr calls them: “violent anarchists,” -- tear-gassed and beaten for exercising their First Amendment rights. Journalists have been targeted as well, as they have been by law enforcement since the start of the George Floyd protests two months ago.
It should come as no surprise that after four years of Trump calling the media, “the enemy of the people,” his personal military force would feel emboldened to go after them.
Donald Trump seems to have a shaky grasp of our Constitution and the civil rights it grants its citizens. Just because he is thin-skinned and petty doesn’t give him the authority to trample on Americans’ ability to express ourselves.
The more he tries to silence us, the more people will rise up against him.