ART BY KAYTE CHIEN
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece are not a reflection of the views of Paw Prints Weekly as a whole. They are the sole views of the author. Paw Prints Weekly celebrates a diverse audience and staff, and it supports the declaration of the duties and rights of a Journalist per the U.S. Constitution.
This is a country with opportunity and freedom.
This is a country where the oppressed feel safe.
This is a country with a strong vocal base and a welcoming community.
Yet, this is a country in which our very own President menacingly bashes his employers and citizens over a drop in self-esteem.
This is America, where the president ruthlessly criticizes the press because of his lack of basic constitutional knowledge.
Recently, an anonymous opinion editorial (op-ed) piece published on Sept. 5 by The New York Times made headlines nationwide, spurring yet another political controversy. The issue? None other than the detrimental influences that the President has brought into the country thus far.
The article under fire, titled “I am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” evoked another string of fervent criticism from President Trump. This time, however, the criticism falls on one of Trump’s very own staff members, the anonymous author of the editorial.
After allegations of disloyalty at the White House staff erupted, Trump has worked arduously to identify the author and file a lawsuit against said author. To support the President’s sporadically inconsiderate actions, top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway castigated the writer and his or her reluctance to come forward.
Unsurprisingly, a country so deeply ingrained with the idea of freedom will not tolerate such an invasion of privacy.
And so begins the controversy: numerous news sources have denounced for the President’s actions, questioning the ethical motives, or the lack thereof, behind this situation.
Trump’s criticism and the media’s subsequent response are enough to demonstrate the dangerous state of free speech in our country.
What President Trump fails to recognize is the undeniable importance that lies within Americans’ most appreciated freedom: the freedom of speech.
Our country was founded on the very roots of the first amendment, which revolves around an emphasis on free speech. Consequently, Trump’s obsessive drive to seek out the anonymous writer is a breach to the writer’s basic rights in this country.
This is not only a danger to our supposedly guaranteed freedom, but it also discredits the United States on an international level when the president practices a skewed version of the country’s portrayed freedom.
It is, of course, completely acceptable for a president to have his own opinion on biased sources or “fake news,” in Trump’s case. And it is even tolerable for the president to go as far as posting his biases on all of social media, at every moment of every day.
But there is a fine line between stating one’s opinion, whether it be about news sources or other political policies, and pushing them upon others.
There is a fine line between expressing your opinion and silencing others’ opinions with your own.
No matter how much he and the few loyal people left in his administration try to deny it, this is exactly what Trump is trying to do with this apparently unsatisfactory editorial.
The very fact that Trump has taken his political misunderstandings to such lengths with, of all things, the newspaper, is quite ironic because of the role that journalism has always played in this country.
From Civil War newspapers to The New York Times, the purpose of journalism has always been to comment and shine light on pressing situations.
This editorial is no different.
The author of the piece did no wrong in trying to reveal the true, insider piece of a messy political scene. Rather, he or she unveiled a realistic picture of what seemed like fairytale come true.
Moreover, Trump believes that the unnamed author is a national security official, which further highlights the muddled knowledge of the politics he stepped into as president.
Despite threatening claims of his apparently competent reporting knowledge, Trump undermines the purpose of the editorial section, completely overlooking the implications of going anonymous in an editorial section. This way, the author’s identity is hidden, allowing citizens to truly understand the state of government without getting in legal trouble.
After all, if the author did not care about this, why would he or she ever consider going anonymous? There is clearly a reason.
And, with the extent that this editorial has so quickly triggered our president, we cannot help but wonder what exactly he is hiding from us and why he so desperately needs the country he is serving not to know.
Again, we are reminded of the quote, “Actions speak louder than words.” Only this time, the long-standing quote applies itself to an infinitely broader and more impactful scenario. Trump’s rash actions have set an unpredictable road ahead for the government’s stability; no government official should ever be shamed for simply informing the public, much less by the President of the United States, a country in which freedom is an intrinsic right of the people.
This article was written by the people, for the people, and had no malicious intentions behind it. A president who has yet to fully grasp the concept of government and free speech cannot strip such a treasured resource from citizens without proper reasons.
Whether or not Trump likes it, the citizens of America should know the truth about the happenings of their constitutional government. Despite Trump’s insults of “cowardly” behavior on the op-ed author’s part, the article will remain a reminder to all of the importance of bravery and truth in rough political times.