According to Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, the First Amendment only goes so far. In an interview with The Hill this weekend, he said that disparaging claims about the legitimacy of the 2020 election are somehow not covered by the Constitution and that anyone who says such things should be immediately deplatformed and shunned.
“This idea that saying that Pennsylvania was rigged, or that we were trying to ‘steal the election — that’s a lie,” Fetterman said. “And that — you do not have the right — that is not protected speech. The second those tweets went up, they should have been deleted.
“That’s not de-platforming someone, it’s deleting lies that are yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater when there is none,” Fetterman continued. “There is a difference. That is not protected speech. [Trump] can talk all day about what his favorite football team is, or that he’s the greatest President in the history of the world. But no one; Republican, Democrat, whatever, has the right to say those kind of incendiary lies.”
We’ve scoured the internet for a shred of evidence that Fetterman spoke out forcefully against Democrats who have questioned the legitimacy of the 2016 election, but so far we’ve come up empty. We also can’t find any evidence that Fetterman condemned Stacey Abrams for claiming that Brian Kemp’s victory over her in 2018 was illegitimate.
But, of course, this is typical for Democrats. As much press as Fetterman has gotten for being an “out of the mold” Democrat, he’s just as partisan and predictable as any of the rest of them. And he’s apparently just as willing to cast off those old liberal values that put a premium on free speech. To the new Democratic Party, free speech is one of the biggest dangers to our society and it should be carefully monitored, censored, and (quite probably) prosecuted when it crosses certain lines. Where those lines are drawn seems to change by the day…which is exactly the problem with speech crackdowns in the first place.
The truth of the matter is that fraud claims about the election are not only protected – they are important. Now maybe some of the more “out there” claims about bags of ballots in the middle of the night are not true, but one thing cannot be denied: Pennsylvania did not run this election according to their own state Constitution. And by stealing power from their own legislature, they also violated the U.S. Constitution. THAT’S what is “not protected,” and it is an ongoing stain on our democracy that their electors were allowed to stand.