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Intolerance must be tolerated 

Mordecai Shekelburg, we hardly knew thee. It seems like only yesterday you were quoting Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kamph and (allegedly) making Facebook death threats toward SLO Solidarity leader Matt Klepfer. Now your hate-filled page is gone and the only Mordecai Shekelberg I can find on Facebook is the “good goyim” at the Jewish Internet Defense Force from Jewtown, Ga., which, yes, is a real place.

It turns out “Shekelburg” wanted to exercise his free speech rights under a nom de plume. His real name is (again, allegedly) Charles Raymond Bird, 20, a Cal Poly history major and intolerant asshat.

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“The day of the rope will be coming soon, and you people will be the first to go,” Shekelburg, er, I mean Bird supposedly wrote. “If you don’t like how it is in this town, you can all go somewhere else. We have a nice thing going here, and if you fuck with that you’re going to have some pretty angry young white men on your hands. Kike.”

Yeah, kike! Except Klepfer isn’t Jewish. I think the pejorative you were looking for, Mr. Bird, was “fag,” though I think “queer” would also do since Mr. Klepfer is president of Cal Poly’s Queer Student Union. Mr. Bird, I’m guessing you recently discovered some Jewish heritage in your background and you’re lashing out. You know who else turned out to have Jewish heritage? Hitler. Bird, man, it’s time to learn the lesson Cal Poly clearly hasn’t taught you.

Free speech has its limits.

Mr. Bird discovered this when he was arrested under suspicion of felony threats and a hate crime. Immature name-calling? That’s protected, Bird, you dipshit loser and intolerant punk. You’re at Cal Poly studying history and you quote from Hitler? You disgust me, sicken me, and I’d like to punch your stupid face! That’s all protected speech! I would only like to punch your pathetic mug. I’m not saying, “The day of the fist is coming, and your face will be the first to get punched.” That would be a threat, you bottom-feeding scuzzbucket.

See how fun free speech is! And Cal Poly just had another dose of it on Dec. 2 when conservative comedian Steven Crowder performed on campus, complaining about the “rise in political correctness” and the “over-sensitivity of the public.”

Judging from his Twitter feed, Crowder’s clearly waging a one-man jihad against political correctness, sensitivity, and basic human decency.

“FEMINISM: a movement required for unattractive women with no discernible skills,” reads one. “I’ll be performing @CalPoly tomorrow night. Yes, there will be AIDS jokes. #WorldAIDSDay,” reads another.

Wow, he’s a riot.

After his “show,” Crowder addressed SLO Solidarity’s list of demands made to Cal Poly President Jeffery Armstrong for more minority inclusion among students and faculty, not to mention mandatory sensitivity training.

“How many people here could even tell you what the First Amendment is?” Crowder asked Mustang News. “I don’t see demands here being constitutional studies, I don’t see demands here being understanding the Declaration of Independence or a demand requirement to be learning about the Revolutionary War or the Civil War. You get demands about ‘cultural sensitivity training’ again. Why is that the value to trump all other values?”

Fair question. Maybe because when given the opportunity to anonymously write on a “free speech” wall erected by the Cal Poly College Republicans, people wrote racist, sexist, homophobic, and transphobic remarks that suggested ignorance of and intolerance toward marginalized members of the Cal Poly community, not ignorance of the First Amendment, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or historical wars.

Unfortunately, there’s a segment of our population that’s angry and looking for a scapegoat. When Donald Trump tells his supporters Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to enter the country and they cheer like their football team won a nail-biter in the last 30 seconds of a pivotal game, that’s gross. When Ted Cruz is interviewed on NPR and claims global climate change is a hoax, that’s ignorant. But hatemongers have a right to voice their opinions.

The thing to remember is that the First Amendment protects people’s right to express their opinions, but it doesn’t guarantee that all opinions are equally valid, because they’re not. Some people’s ideas are stupid and dangerous.

In a little under a year, our country will decide who should lead it over the following four years. Will it be President Donald Trump, President “Tex” Cruz, President Hilary Clinton, President Bernie Sanders, or one of the other contenders? That all depends on just how irrationally angry the electorate is. Like the Cal Poly free speech wall and Mordecai Shekelburg’s Facebook page, when voters enter their polling station, the votes they cast are anonymous.

Some voters will look into their hearts and see anger and disappointment and vote for the candidate that best mirrors their rage. Others will look into their hearts and see sadness for an America teetering on the brink of intolerance and hatred and will vote for the candidate of fairness and inclusion. Instead of threats against “you people” ringing out, we need to be reminded that this is a country of “we the people.” 

The Shredder votes for tolerance. Send ideas and comments to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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