DEAR EDITOR:

In yet another week of bad news, among the more disturbing headlines was President Trump’s wailing about how his free speech was being stifled by Twitter and how he was going to regulate it or shut it down. And here I thought true Republicans were against government regulation and repression of free enterprise.

First, it’s important to remember that stifling free speech is something the First Amendment prohibits the government from doing. There is no such prohibition against private social media companies – they are free to prohibit publication of lies, unfounded conspiracy theories, and nonsense all they want. Some would call such prohibitions sound journalism. So when a President starts issuing executive orders in attempt to force them to publish lies and deceit, that blatantly trespasses into First Amendment territory.

Second, the solution to President Trump’s dilemma is simple: just tell the truth, man. Spouting that absentee ballots will lead to voter fraud is a fairy tale, supported by not a lick of evidence, never mind the irony that Trump and other White House advisors recently voted by absentee ballot. Yammering about Joe Scarborough having a hand in the death of a former employee a decade ago is pure nonsense, since the death was long ago ruled due to natural causes. Even the widower of the deceased has called on Trump to stop this blather as has Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., a no-nonsense conservative.

Of course Trump lashing out at Twitter is symptomatic of his continuing frustrations. His late response to the pandemic has done enormous damage to all areas of the economy, especially employment, killing the only arguable bragging point Trump had going into the November election. The pandemic has also exposed the truth of science and medicine over opinion and bluster. The numbers don’t lie: over 100,000 deaths in just a few months prove COVID-19 is not a hoax and taking unproven drugs and other wacky remedies may hurt, not help. Americans listen to Dr. Fauci, not Dr. Trump. And of course, the fact that the pandemic makes Trump rallies impossible must be driving Trump crazier. So when Twitter, long a Trump megaphone, clamps down on lies and nonsense, it’s no surprise (he) threatens unconstitutional remedies to right the sinking ship. He is desperate.

As we get closer to election day, Americans must ask themselves: Has this president made America great again? November is coming.

Paul Culotta

Rome

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