For those worried that “PC Culture,” or the social pressure to be politically correct and respectful of minorities, is curbing free speech in the United States, I have got something for you: President-Elect Donald Trump has spent the days following his win attacking the free speech of Americans. In a series of tweets, Trump called out the protesters angry about his win, as well as the New York Times for being “unfair” to him.

First, just two days after Trump won the presidential election, he used his Twitter account to attack protesters who were against his election. So much for Trump beginning to act “presidential.” Every day after the election, from Wednesday to Sunday, protesters across the US turned out to speak their minds and exercise their right to free speech. They were met with the following tweet:

What is unfortunate about Trump’s tweets is that protest is protected under the First Amendment. Trump, the future head of government, calling out American citizens and dismissing their protests as unfair is first childish, and second, quite dangerous. Trump later tweeted that he was proud that the very “small” groups were speaking their minds. The point, however, is that the United States is a powerful police state. Who is to say that Trump would never get angry and use this apparatus to suppress protests against him? Trump should use his position to understand protesters’ concerns, instead of putting them down from his position of power.

In addition, Trump used his Twitter account to attack the New York Times. A free press is crucial for maintaining a democracy and keeping the government accountable. While candidate Trump complaining about the press is one thing, President-Elect Trump must acknowledge the importance of a free press instead of denigrating newspapers, reporters, and television networks that speak out against him.

Throughout Trump’s campaign, he would encourage his crowds to turn and boo and swear at reporters and members of the press. He would publicly call out NBC reporter Katy Tur by her name for her coverage of his campaign. Now, Trump, instead of being flanked by his supporters (who at times, turned nasty towards the press at Trump’s encouragement), has the power of the United States government at his beck and call.

Trust—this is dangerous behavior, more dangerous than “political correctness” ever was. Political correctness requires us to think about our speech and consider how it might affect others. On the other hand, the President-Elect denigrating protesters and the press is a dangerous precedent, and when Trump gains control of the government, we must ensure that he does not use his power to suppress the protests and newspaper articles that bother him. This power in Trump’s hands could be truly harmful to our freedoms, as he has to proven to be a vindictive and thin-skinned man. All we can do is continue to use our voice and speak out. At least we know it is working. 


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