San Antonio must be fresh out of problems for the city council to address. Mayor Ron Nirenberg sent a letter to the members of the city council saying the city must stand against COVID-19 hate speech. He attached a resolution with the letter and asked the city council to adopt the resolution at their next meeting.
“This coronavirus has held no regard for race, religion, creed, or political boundary. As such, our efforts must meet the indiscriminate nature of COVID-19 with empathy and compassion for all our neighbors,” writes Nirenberg. “I ask that you consider adopting the attached resolution – which declares that our COVID-19 response efforts will be free of hate and discrimination – at the next Council A-Session.”
Nirenberg’s letter adds that terms like ‘Chinese virus’ and ‘Kung Fu Virus’ only encourage hate crimes and incidents against Asian communities; and that the Jewish community has also been targeted with blame and conspiracy theories regarding coronavirus.
And just like that, the city council voted unanimously to stifle the First Amendment rights of San Antonio residents. The resolution covers hate speech, violent action, and the “spread of misinformation related to COVID-19.” Violent action? Ok. The hate speech part, along with the concern about spreading misinformation is very troubling though. Is there a special police force available to monitor private conversations or public speeches in group settings? How exactly is this resolution an enforceable one? The resolution also lumps in a stated opposition to anti-semitic behavior during the coronavirus outbreak against the Jewish community and goes on to condemn Islamophobia, Sinophobia, and racism. In other words, the mayor’s resolution included every group he could think of, careful not to leave anyone out, though it is supposed to specifically address actions against the Asian community. Got it.
WHEREAS, each individual has the ability to promote inclusiveness, celebrate diversity, support
all fellow community members, prevent the spread of misinformation, and reject hate and bias in
all forms; and
WHEREAS, hate crimes, discrimination and aggression against Asians and Jews are on the rise
throughout the country as these groups are being blamed for the COVID-19 outbreak and spread; and
WHEREAS, as our history has shown, times of great fear, uncertainty and unrest can lead to the
demonization, blaming, and scapegoating of groups as the “other;” and
WHEREAS, extremists are taking advantage of COVID-19 to spread their hateful ideologies,
including antisemitism, racism, Islamophobia, and Sinophobia; and
WHEREAS, amid the growing spread of COVID-19, there are surging reports of bias-motivated
incidents targeting members of the Asian and Pacific Islander community in the U.S.; and
WHEREAS, COVID-19 is a public health issue, not a racial, religious or ethnic one, and the
deliberate use of terms such as “Chinese virus” or “Kung Fu virus” to describe COVID-19 only
encourages hate crimes and incidents against Asians and further spreads misinformation at a time
when communities should be working together to get through this crisis; and
That’s all standard reasoning for a resolution that approves the limiting of personal rights – be nice and don’t say bad things to anyone. The First Amendment is there to protect all speech, though, not just nice speech. People can say whatever nasty thing they want to say, within reason, (no yelling “fire!” in a crowded theatre) and that speech is protected. Even what is considered bad speech is protected.
The mayor’s resolution also contained some Communist Chinese propaganda and that is a bridge too far. In order to justify condemning terms like “Chinese virus” and “Kung Fu virus” the resolution spouts the mantra of the W.H.O. – the virus isn’t a Chinese one. Yes, it infects all nationalities but there is no question from where the coronavirus originated. The answer is China.
WHEREAS, COVID-19 will not be stopped by political boundaries and was not created or caused
by any race, nationality or ethnicity, and the World Health Organization has cautioned against
using geographic descriptors that can fuel ethnic and racial discrimination; and
Especially if it does prove to be true that the virus was created in a Chinese lab, for whatever reason, it is very much a virus that originated in China. It’s too bad that the Democrat-led San Antonio city council allowed itself to be patsies for the Communist government in China.
Senator Ted Cruz wasn’t pleased with the city council’s exercise in such a politically correct feel-good resolution. He had a reasonable reaction – “This is nuts” – mostly about the investigative portion of the resolution.
This is NUTS. SA City Council behaving like a lefty college faculty lounge, triggered by Chick-fil-A & the words “Wuhan virus.” If they want to investigate someone, start with NYT & CNN who both repeatedly (and rightly) referred to it as “the Chinese coronavirus.” #NoSpeechPolice https://t.co/a10BZAvleQ
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) May 7, 2020
The mayor tried to say that this resolution wasn’t overreaching into First Amendment rights and pointed to all the other minorities the resolution includes. What he did, though, was to magnify how that is exactly what the resolution does. Tossing in the Jewish community, for example, doesn’t negate the fact that he was including others to justify his action.
Nirenberg said he was aware of several examples of hate speech and subsequent actions taken against people in the city. He added the resolution wasn’t directed at constitutionally protected free speech, as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
“Oh no, not at all. What this is, is a statement of values, as we say we’re a compassionate community,” the mayor said, according to WOAI-TV.
The resolution also includes speech directed at the Jewish community, which it says have been targeted with “blame, hate, antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories about their creating, spreading and profiting from COVID-19.”
Also, note that this tweet by a reporter says that the resolution encourages people to snitch on others. This follows the Democrat playbook of embracing authoritarian actions during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Communist Chinese overlords would be proud.