It is incredibly dangerous for government to police speech, especially when they pretend that there is a “safety” issue from the speech. If there is a “safety” issue, the problem is with violent protesters, not speakers. Censorship also needlessly creates First Amendment martyrs out of bad people.
Marjorie Taylor-Greene is a conspiracy theorist and QAnon devotee who has spread baseless rumors about Jewish space lasers. Matt Gaetz is a slimy person charged with transporting teenage girls across state lines to exploit them sexually. Neither should be supported, but city government in Anaheim, California has behaved so poorly that they have made Greene and Gaetz look much better by comparison.
A city spokesman said, “as a city we respect free speech but also have a duty to call out speech that does not reflect our city and its values.” We know that when someone says “we respect free speech, but” that they really do not respect free speech at all and are justifying censorship. The fact that the city “shared public safety concerns” with the venue where Greene and Gaetz were going to speak makes this a First Amendment issue. A private venue has every right to cancel a political event. However, when government pressures them into doing so, the government is breaking the law.
Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson openly praised the cancellation of the rally, saying “I recognize this was a divisive issue in our community, and I am glad it has been resolved. I commend Raincross Hospitality Corp. for this decision.” This makes it clear that city government was engaged in viewpoint-based discrimination in rebellion against the Constitution.
In a world where the rule of law is respected, the city of Anaheim would be slapped down by the courts, forced to provide police protection, and then forced to pay a billion-dollar settlement to Gaetz and Greene. The voters who elected the totalitarians would then be disciplined for their error by paying much higher taxes to cover the cost of lawless politicians. The consequences for this illegal behavior will sadly not be that extreme, but hopefully the city will be punished in some way for this rebellion.