Many of you who know me personally know that I follow politics very closely and I have previously used Facebook as the medium in which I discuss political topics from gun control, to LGBT rights and everything in between. I’m excited to use my new platform here on Odyssey to interact with the rest of the world and hopefully start some intellectual and productive discussions.

The topic for the day is a hot one, and one that has caused incredible division and strife across the country; on college campuses, on social media and in our everyday lives. The topic is free speech, and it is most certainly under attack in the United States. It’s been a long time coming, but we all live in a world where the things you say and think can be used against you and wielded as a weapon by those who want you to shut your mouth. You’re only allowed to have the “politically correct” opinion and the words you use have to be “PC friendly” or you face persecution from the Thought Police that make sure things like that never come out of your mouth again. Its all about control.

Before we proceed, let me give you an example of what I mean. Earlier this week on my Twitter (follow me, fam @EliForbes56), I was discussing the latest shooting of Alton Sterling in Louisiana with some of the kids I graduated high school with. I originally tweeted a statistic I obtained from data compiled by University of Toledo criminologist Dr. Richard R. Johnson and the FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports, talking about how it would take policemen approximately 40 years to kill the same number of African Americans as African Americans did to each other in 2012 alone. My desired intent was to show that yes, black lives do indeed matter, and police violence needs to certainly be minimized, but perhaps we have much bigger problems to tackle than police shootings, whether they were justified or not (for the record, I don’t believe the latest shootings were at all justified.) I did not put any political spin on the tweet, it was a simple stat that I thought was important to note when discussing institutional racism in the U.S.

In addition to about 20 likes and several retweets in the first two hours or so after tweeting, I was met with militant hostility from two young women as well as someone I had played football with in high school. The two women called me racist, told me they had lost respect for me as a person, as well as run my name through the dirt via social media for the world to see. The other gentleman (white) got very angry that I used the word “blacks” instead of “African Americans.” He said that using blacks was “insensitive” and proceeded to call me a “retard” for not agreeing with his point of view. After I pointed out how ironic that statement was, he threatened to kill me. For the world to see. That escalated pretty quickly…

This, ladies and gentleman is the work of the regressive left. I have not seen it manifest itself anywhere but on the left and it is truly a cancer to our society. I was not allowed to provide statistics, because it was “racist” and “insensitive.” They demanded me to be silent and that my opinion does not matter and should not speak it. What a time to be alive...

Does this sound familiar? This happens all over the country, especially between millennials on college campuses. We hear about it all the time, when a conservative student, or anyone for that matter, makes a statement or raises an argument that someone else takes offense to, that student is punished and taught to not voice their opinions, as it can hurt the feelings of those around them. Wow, really? In American colleges, words really do hurt, as conservative speakers (such as the fabulous Milo Yiannopoulos) are protested, students are lectured about micro-aggressions, professors are all progressive and safe spaces are readily available for those who have been oppressed by the hate speech written in chalk promoting the candidacy of Donald Trump.

So what does this teach the young, conservatively minded college student? It teaches him or her that their opinion is worthless. It teaches that they are “racist, sexist, xenophobic, bigoted” and whatever else the left wishes to label them with. They are either ashamed of their political beliefs and will not admit to them as to not hurt anyone’s feelings, or they simply say nothing, as they know they will be punished for their actions.

Political analysts and politicians on both the left and the right have spoken out against this kind of behavior, and the time has come for us, as millennials, as college students, to take a stand. We will not stand by as you ruin the lives of our professors who are fired or forced to resign because of a difference of opinion (looking at you, Yale.) We will not cater to your feelings and emotions. We will not allow you to hide behind your safe space rainbow wonderland every time you see the face of a candidate you don’t agree with. We will not be silenced.

I challenge you, on the left, to have the courage to debate civilly and freely with your colleagues on the right. Respect their opinions, and they will most certainly respect yours. Try to come up with an argument other than “check your privilege, s**tlord!” or “You’re an Islamophobic bigot!”

And please… micro-aggressions do not exist. Try to act like grown men or women and realize that words and different opinions, do not, in fact, hurt you. Let’s be the generation that can truly work together to accomplish what previous generations could not do. It starts now. Let the discussion begin.

Thanks for reading! Feedback is always appreciated, y’all. Big thanks for all of the support so far! You guys are amazing! Next week I plan on continuing the Bound in Blood series with the second installment. Get hype. Roll Tribe.