Jailed Over A Tweet? Why America Needs To Hold Fast To What Makes Us Great

A couple years ago on Facebook, in attempt to draw a distinction between what is truly horrible in this world and what the left was calling horrible (religious people, conservatives, Republicans, low taxes, less government, etc.), I posted a few gruesome photos of some of the awful acts perpetrated by Muslims. I know — it was a harsh and perhaps over-the-top lesson in perspective.

A friend of mine was really upset about the photos, and perplexed at how I could post them; admittedly, they were graphic. While I did not delete the posts, in an attempt to preserve our real-life (vs. Facebook) friendship, I unfriended him. Problem solved, and we’ve both moved on as friends.

About the same time, Marine Le Pen, former French presidential candidate, posted similar photos.
Despite living in western civilization, however, she is now facing three years in prison and what amounts to a $90,000 fine.

French prosecutors filed preliminary charges Thursday against Marine Le Pen for tweeting brutal images of Islamic State violence.

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The prosecutor’s office in the Paris suburb of Nanterre said the charges were issued for “distribution of violent images.” If the case eventually reaches trial and she’s convicted, Le Pen could face up to three years in prison and a 75,000-euro ($90,000) fine.

Le Pen’s December 2015 tweets showed executions by IS extremists, including the killing of American reporter James Foley. She posted them in the wake of the November 2015 IS attacks on Paris, accusing the government of not doing enough to protect France.

Le Pen told BFM television Thursday “it’s clearly aimed at silencing me. Yet I will not be silenced”. Le Pen said she would consider a potential conviction as a “medal of patriotism and defense of the French people.”

The preliminary charges were made possible after the French parliament lifted her immunity from prosecution in the case late last year.

Lawyer Rodolphe Bosselut, representing Le Pen in the case, confirmed the charges but wouldn’t comment.

Marine Le Pen’s French-first, Islam-skeptic nationalism resonated widely in the wake of Donald Trump’s election and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

France is not Abu Dhabi, Iran, or Saudi Arabia. While they don’t have a constitution that protects free speech in the way we do, France still operates in what is traditionally a liberal and open society. They aren’t that different from us. What Le Pen is facing is more political retaliation because she’s famous and anti-immigration, but how many French citizens have posted similar pictures? It’s chilling to see a western culture go after someone like this, who could have been its president.

The US political rhetoric crashing back and forth between the two major parties in the last week alone should give us pause. The mob calling for Dana Loesch to be burned, and petulant Marxists-in-the-making like David Hogg (Parkland, FL student) claiming those who oppose gun confiscation don’t care about murdered children have debased political conversations to new, sickening levels. I’ve heard historians say this is nothing new, and that world history is replete with similar, vile talk. I don’t know if this is true.

Despite how vicious it’s getting, however, for the most part we can still speak our minds without criminal prosecution. People like Ben Shapiro and Steven Crowder are victims of what Shapiro calls the “heckler’s veto” where events are either shut down, or so much security is required it ends up costing event organizers hundreds of thousands just to allow opposing views a voice.

We still have it good – no, GREAT – in the United States. We have a number of serious problems, but rest assured: We are the envy of the world, and have much to be thankful for. Let us pray and work hard to preserve it all.

photo credit: European Parliament Marine Le Pen, French co-chair of the ENF group via photopin (license)

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Michael Cummings
Michael A. Cummings has a Bachelors in Business Management from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, and a Masters in Rhetoric & Composition from Northern Arizona University. He has worked as a department store Loss Prevention Officer, bank auditor, textbook store manager, Chinese food delivery man, and technology salesman. Cummings wrote position pieces for the 2010 Trevor Drown for US Senate (AR) and 2012 Joe Coors for Congress (CO) campaigns.

 

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