Jailing Your Political Opponents Is Not Funny
Start writing a post

Oh my dear reader, while I am a strong proponent of freedom of expression, there is a new variety of "jokes" which are disturbingly coming from many of the most influential voices of our land. Imagine a country far away, where discontent with the status quo brews volcanically under the surface. This candidate on the summit of the volcano knows the exact words to utter in order to legitimize the people's anger against status quo politicians.

He tilts back his head and raises his fist as he chants

"Lock her up!"

The crowd roars in applause as he tapped into the desires of their souls

"They should all be thrown in jail!"

The crowd is delighted- and immediately believe they are on the true side of history.

I recently watched a video in which Voltaire was quoted as saying "those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities." This branding of our political opponents and politicians we do not like as "criminals" breaches the regular restrains of public debate- and enters into dangerous territory as we saw in the Michigan coup attempt.

While I am aware that tensions run strong in this country, this type of desensitizing the populace to the idea of having politicians thrown in jail has dangerous consequences and dismisses the real sufferings of many political prisoners around the world. We do have liberty to joke, but this liberty becomes license when the lives of others are threatened. When it comes out of the mouth of a leader of a country, he brings these "jokes" to a whole never level and radicals such as the Michigan-Plotters may heed these seriously.

Jailing your political opponents is not funny- in fact, it is one of the gravest violations of human rights. To joke about locking up your opponents would be the equivalent of joking about taking away the free press because the press was unflattering or banning Catholicism because "Catholics are unamerican." The press, religion and fair trials are among the cornerstones of a free country, and we must hold them up as the sanctuary of democracy.

I was fortunate enough to hear from two prisoners of conscious- kind of. One was a prisoner of conscious in China, and the other was the cousin of a political prisoner in Venezuela. The Chinese dissident Guangcheng Chen spoke to my graduate program about the horrors he faced for exposing genocidal practices of the Chinese Communist Party. For the Venezuelan speaker, his cousin was jailed out of the dictator's own personal jealousy. Leopoldo Lopez, a man of deep political convictions and a massive library was kept out of contact from his young family. Both of these incidents are tragic and a very real fact that the world faces today. Both Guangcheng Chen and Leopoldo Lopez did nothing wrong, both of them spoke the truth and stood up for their beliefs. Neither of these gentlemen were violent, and both fully expressed their convictions and had their voices silenced. Freedom of expression is vital for a democracy, and part of that expression is the right to express viewpoints that are different from the leaders in power.

When these comments come out of the mouth of a political leader- they are taken seriously by some, and a mockery of freedom of expression is made. A president of a country must resistance the temptation to make such jokes! We need political opposition to challenge our own views, and to add to the diversity of a nation. When opposition is stifled, then the space for public discourse and ideas is robbed of some of our brightest minds and new ideas. Regardless of our beliefs about any politician- we should never throw anybody in jail for their convictions. Many of the greatest minds in history- Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Antonio Narino and countless others have been imprisoned for the crime- the greatest crime of having a belief that was different than leader's.

Democracy is a precious vessel, guard her with all of our hearts. Let's ensure each vote is counted- regardless of where we stand, and that every voice is heard. May we live in a peaceful democracy for many more years!

Vive la republique!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.


The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments