Councilman Jose F. Moreno: “I support free speech, but” not if I decide what you have to say is racist, hate, xenophobic, etc. as I define it.

“The freedom of speech and the freedom of the press have not been granted to the people in order that they may say the things which please, and which are based upon accepted thought, but the right to say the things which displease, the right to say the things which may convey the new and yet unexpected thoughts, the right to say things, even though they do a wrong.”

— Samuel Gompers, U.S. labor leader

“If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

— Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., U.S. Supreme Court justice

“For if Men are to be precluded from offering their Sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences, that can invite the consideration of Mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of Speech may be taken away, and, dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the Slaughter.”

— George Washington

Our rights to free speech and free assembly, enshrined in the 1st Amendment, are fundamental to our life as a free, self-governing people.  They are also under siege by the Woke Left, whose belief in diversity is restricted to external characteristics like skin color and nationality, rather than thought.

Over the weekend, two members of Congress from Florida, Matt Gaetz and Majorie Taylor Greene, were prevented from holding a political rally at the M3 Live Anaheim Event Center, thanks to an effort of Anaheim Councilman Jose F. Moreno and other radicals.

Gaetz and Greene occupy the fringe of conservative politics. They’re rhetoric is over-the-top and can border on lunatic. Gaetz himself is being investigated over allegations of sex trafficking (charges he denies). They believe some kooky things – but so does Councilman Moreno.

But as American citizens they have the right to freely assemble and espouse their views – free of governmental interference. And that freedom was abridged thanks to city interference orchestrated by Councilman Moreno.

Moreno: “Yes, I support Free Speech, But…”
In a series of tweets, Moreno crows about getting the event canceled, and admits it was due to the political views of the rally organizers and participants. Moreno postures as a supporters of free speech while carving out expansive exceptions for silencing opposing views:


Councilman Moreno provides no evidence for his claim the America First rally would have led to “actionable violence” (typically weird Moreno phrasing: is there such a thing as “unactionable violence?”). If he possesses some evidence or special knowledge to substantiate such a serious charge, he’s obliged to share it. As it is, the rally – which was ultimately held in Riverside, went off with violence.

Then there’s the sheer hypocrisy of Moreno’s crocodile tears. In June of 2020, in the middle of the pandemic as George Floyd/BLM protests were erupting across the country – many of them degenerating in to rioting – Moreno and a group of radical AUSHD educators organized an anti-police protest by students at La Palma Park. They were fully aware that a “Fuck The Police” protest, organized by radical elements like BLM, was scheduled to take place a mile away in front of City Hall, prompting downtown businesses to board up their store fronts. After the Moreno-organized rally ended, many of the student participants march directly to the BLM protest at City Hall, where a number of protesters committed vandalism, hurled fireworks at police and engaged in general disorder.

In other words: Moreno exercised his right to free assembly by organizing a mass protest in a volatile political climate, when there was actual potential for rioting, but invokes the possibility of violence – with far less basis – in order to leverage his office to prevent others from simliarly exercising their rights. It’s rank hypocrisy.

Moreno’s Reasoning Undermines Free Speech

Just as unsettling – if not more so – are Moreno’s justifications for suppressing the free exercise of speech and assembly: if it involves “hate” or “misinformation” that is “dangerous” and may “undermine our democracy.”  Those are very subjective standards, especially in today’s toxic political climate – the Woke Left routinely anathematizes center-Right views as hate speech, racist, white supremacist, or -phobic of some kind, and claims they a a “danger to democracy.” It’s not difficult to see how Woke activists and elected officials would use the Moreno Standard, using the sorts of pretexts employed in authoritarian countries to punish dissenters. They provide broad latitude for thought police like Moreno, under color of authority, to crack down opposing views.

Moreno has a broadly inclusive view of what constitutes hate and racism that diverges from how we traditionally understand those terms. After all, this is a man who for all intents and purposes accused Mayor Harry Sidhu – an immigrant from India – of being a white supremacist.

Last year, for example, Councilman Moreno sought city council approval for a resolution critcizing opposing the Trump Adminsitration’s change in the “public charge” rule.  The Administration wanted to take into account all forms of public assistance received by green card holders to determine their dependence on public assistance. Moreno claimed doing so was racist and xenophobic. That, of course, is nonsense. What Moreno here considers “racist” strikes most people as common sense. But it gives you an idea of how political expression could be supressedaccording to Moreno’s “I support free speech, but…” standard.

Reasonable people of all political persuasions should be appalled at Councilman Moreno and his Woke allies exalting in using city government to interfere with the ability of their fellow citizens to exercise their right to free speech and assembly.  They don’t have to like Gaetz, Greene and their supporters, or agree with their politics. They can dispute their views, elobrate their own, and peacefully counter-protest.  At the same time, they have a civic obligation as Americans to respect everyone’s constitutional right to the freely excersize their freedom of speech and assembly.

It’s unfortunate that the City of Anaheim has been dragged into this cauldron thanks to the intolerant zeal of Moreno and his allies. The city shoudl have left well enough alone. Once word got out that the Gaetz/Greene rally would take place at the M3 Live Anaheim Event Center, the venue was bombarded with hostile e-mails and social media postings. In all likelihood, the venue would have cancelled the rally in response – as is their right. However. Moreno’s dragooning the city into the matter an hopes of driving America First rally out of Anaheim has subjected to the city to predictable poltiical and social media backlash.  While the city and the mayor are being lambasted as anti-free speech, Moreno – who pulled the pin and rolled in the grenade – garners the applause of his Woke Left admirers.