Staff Editorial: Trumpeting politics

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Illustration by Philip Kuhns

Ten thousand adults broke into thunderous applause at the idea of overriding the First Amendment last Friday.

The time has come to pay much closer attention to politics.

It takes quite a lot for The Shield staff to join together on a political issue, and that “quite a lot” occurred somewhere in Fort Worth, Texas, at a Donald Trump  rally.

During this live speech, Trump publicly denounced the New York Times as “one of the most dishonest media outlets I’ve ever seen in my life.”

This claim was followed shortly thereafter with a promise: “I’m gonna open up our libel laws, so when they write purposefully negative and horrible and false articles we can sue them and win lots of money,” Trump said.

This comment was punctuated by Trump directly pointing to the group of reporters filming from the back of the room, cementing the idea that this proposal directly involves every journalist.

If this were to happen, every news organization in the United States could be prosecuted by any person with the money to file a lawsuit claiming a piece was inherently negative.

While this alone is a terrifying idea, opening the door to a dystopian future where the media can’t report on anything controversial or of importance for fear of litigation, Trump’s proposition affects every American.

If one were to share the infamous goofy picture of Beyonce during her 2013 Super Bowl performance, tell a joke about a company or post a harshly-worded Facebook status, they could lose everything.

In Trump’s America, there would be legal precedent to sue anyone posting this content on a public platform.

With this law, the Wikileaks papers would have never been published. The Nixon tapes would have never seen the light of day. Journalists are watchdogs. What happens if they’re not allowed to expose injustice in the world?

Who would in their stead?

But what is truly terrifying about this instance is the sheer frequency at which they have occurred during Trump’s campaign. What has been billed as an “honest” bid for the presidency has devolved into a seemingly random combination of insults and poorly thought-out promises.

As of this writing, all signs point toward Trump receiving the Republican presidential nomination.

The time for sharing funny clips on social media is over. Memes and jokes make no difference if nobody votes. As college students, we have a vested interest in the future of this country.

A major candidate casually announced intentions to counteract the Bill of Rights.

That fact alone should be  worth the few moments it takes to mail in a voter registration card.

Indiana’s primary is May 3, be ready.

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