Free speech is under assault. The United States faces threats to the first amendment, and even this year’s president election has been characterized by the waging war on political correctness. Moreover, the definition of free speech has even been under examination by our university’s administration along with other college campuses across the country. In most of the cases, both on our campus and around our country, free speech was studied through dialogues, debates and even protests, but none of them involved violence.
This past Sunday marked a transition away from such peace as the Orange County Republican Headquarters was violently firebombed. The campaign office itself was destroyed, and a nearby building was vandalized, reading: “Nazi Republicans get out of town or else”. Pictures show the destruction of the office, leaving campaign signs of local, state and federal candidates left burned and the surrounding walls charred. The State Bureau of Investigation and local authorities in Orange County have yet to determine any of the individuals who were involved in the act.
Orange County, which includes most of the town of Chapel Hill and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s campus, is dominated by left politics, as Democrats outnumber Republicans five to one. Nevertheless, this attack has been condemned by both parties, and everyone from local Mayor Tom Stevens to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have condemned the violence. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory even called the incident “clearly an attack on our democracy”.
The Wake Forest Review stands in clear opposition to this attack against the Orange County Republican Headquarters and condemns any form of violence as a way of preventing free speech.
We also stand in solidarity with both the Orange County GOP and the North Carolina GOP, as they will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers as we move toward Election Day.
We will continue to promote free speech on this campus and around the country, and uphold it as the distinguishing principle of our democratic system.