MADISON, Wis. – The First Amendment took a beating Wednesday night in the “Safe Space” capital of Wisconsin.
But free speech fought back, thanks to a young conservative crowd that wouldn’t be kowtowed by a militant left on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
Conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro received the kind of “welcome” he’s grown accustomed to at universities across the country, at least from liberals who believe speech is a one-way street.
Some 20 demonstrators showed up for Shapiro’s speech, titled, “Dismantling Safe Spaces: Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings.” The lecture, at the UW’s Sewell Social Science Building, was designed to be a direct hit on the so-called snowflake, victimization nation that has populated college campuses across the country, taking aim at the perpetually aggrieved and ever offended.
The demonstrators stood up and chanted, “Safety! Safety! Safety,” interrupting Shapiro’s address. The safe word apparently was an expression that the university is a safe space, where hate-filled rhetoric isn’t welcome.
Funny. The “Love Trumps Hate” crew came across as angry, hostile, and certainly not very tolerant of Shapiro or the vast majority of the 200-plus people who came out to hear what he had to say.
The protesters, including children, constantly interrupted Shapiro’s speech, which in part was on why “diversity doesn’t matter, decency matters.”
“Shame! Shame! Shame!” chanted the leftists in response.
Shapiro, a seasoned First Amendment defender who knows how to drive liberals crazy, was definitely up to the challenge.
“All you are doing is showing that your collective IQ, if it were channeled into electricity, might be able to toast a piece of bread,” he said, the crowd loving the slight.
Before the event descended into disorder, Shapiro offered some words and a gift to the “social justice warriors” who showed up spoiling for a fight. He noted the latest accoutrement craze of left-wingers: wearing safety pins to show solidarity with the most “vulnerable.” Or as the left-leaning New York Times recently put it:
After the election of Donald J. Trump, fears are growing that segments of his base may physically or emotionally abuse minorities, immigrants, women and members of the L.G.B.T. community. As a show of support, groups of people across America are attaching safety pins to their lapels, shirts and dresses to signify that they are linked, willing to stand up for the vulnerable.
“They started wearing safety pins. They can wear them with this diaper,” Shapiro said, in a jab at the sentiment.
“You want to wear a swastika?” a safe space protester shouted, perhaps not understanding Shapiro’s ethnoreligious membership.
“He’s Jewish,” shouted a crowd member.
“In case you haven’t noticed, the folks with the swastikas aren’t real nice to my type,” Shapiro joked.
As the nationally syndicated columnist and radio talk show host attempted to debunk the left’s racially-centric new testament – white privilege, social justice, white guilt, controlled speech –, he was drowned out by the protester’s favorite catch phrases.
Growing fatigued, Shapiro said, “If we have any police officers this now is absolutely a disruption.”
“If you want to talk, talk. If you want to shout, then get the hell out,” he told the protesters. “At least wait until I say something that offends you before you get offended.”
They couldn’t wait.
“Safety! Safety! Safety!” the demonstrators shouted.
“USA! USA! USA!” the crowd shouted back, reminiscent of the angry shouting contests at Trump rallies – hostile confrontations we now know (thanks to Wikileaks) were often initiated by liberal group plants.
The protesters’ antics were more than one woman could stand.
“I have stood on my feet for 10 fricking hours today. I run a food pantry and a soup kitchen. I’m frickin tired,” she said. “Shut the frick up and listen to the man.” She received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Campus police watched but did nothing to stop the interruptions. At one point, they looked on as the protesters stormed the stage and continued their chants. Shapiro was told by police that they were instructed not to stop the demonstrators, who made their intentions to disrupt clear on Facebook days before the speech.
To the protesters, Shapiro and those who came to listen to him, are “white supremacists.” They shouted as much. They demanded that the University of Wisconsin-Madison was their campus. To which conservative students and taxpayers in the crowd quickly responded, “This is our campus.”
Before Shapiro took the stage, there was a scrap over just who could attend the presentation. Liberals asserted that UW policy technically doesn’t allow student organizations to open events to the public, unless there is department sponsorship.
They just didn’t want Shapiro’s kind, and by “kind” they mean conservative, on their campus, critics blasted.
“As a taxpayer funded university, Madison should make efforts to have more events open to the public,” said Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville in a statement Wednesday. “Every time university officials lobby my office for more taxpayer resources, they argue how important the school is to the state. Student organizations should have the freedom – without fear of complaints – to create a larger discussion with the broader public community.”
“I was never so proud of these conservative kids,” she told Wisconsin Watchdog. “They restored my faith in the millennial generation.”
McKenna, who hosts two daily shows on Newstalk 1130 WISN in Milwaukee and WIBA in Madison, was the target of the leftists’ message of love and tolerance.
Upon leaving the event, she was surrounded by demonstrators. They shouted all kinds of vile things at the talk show host, the kind of offensive, “war on women” words for which liberals castigated Trump. One protester even charged that McKenna was responsible for the murder of a University of Wisconsin-Stout student from Saudi Arabia.
“The black supremacists mob shout me down–all 5’3″ &48 years old of me–and UW cops try to move ME away because I am the THREAT Film at 11!” McKenna wrote on Twitter.
As intense as Wednesday night in Madison was, at least Shapiro was allowed to speak, kind of.
He reportedly was banned from speaking at DePaul University and campus officials threatened to arrest him because he presented a “safety concern.”
“Given the experiences and security concerns that some other schools have had with Ben Shapiro speaking on their campuses, DePaul cannot allow him to speak on our campus at this time,” Bob Janis, vice president of Facilities and Operations at DePaul, said in a statement.