‘That’s not OK’ is Seattle’s new passive-aggressive activism threat

Apr 27, 2017, 10:56 AM | Updated: 1:10 pm

Let’s talk about activism.

Seattle is legendary for the civic activism of its politicians, and that’s still true today. We have one activist city council member who said it’s a good idea for demonstrators to not just protest downtown but also block freeways and the airport if necessary.

RELATED: Candidate’s campaign off to a rough start

So I asked Cary Moon, an activist mayoral candidate, where she is on that spectrum. For example, as mayor would she ever urge people to resist President Trump by blocking access to a freeway?

“I don’t know about that specifically, but I think Seattle is playing a really strong role as a leader in the resistance,” she answered. “If we want to stand up for progressive values for a city where everyone feels welcome, where a city that protects its communities and all our neighbors, I think it’s good to make a good strong stance and show that we can be the alternative to his nightmarish vision of America.”

She went on to say that people have differing hopes for America but that we should be welcoming and that, “anybody who is preaching bigotry or hatred or exclusion, that’s not OK in our city, and I want to come together around protecting human values and human rights while we’re also solving some of these big problems that Trump voters were angry about.”

I’m hearing that phrase “Not OK” more and more. I’m coming to understand what it means. When someone says “that’s not OK,” it’s a passive-aggressive way of saying: If you try to say anything in our city, we will hound you, we will demonstrate against you, we may even try to block you from speaking. This happened against Milo Milo Yiannopoulos at UW, and it’s happened to Ann Coulter in Berkeley.

I asked Moon: Is that what she means?

“I think hate speech is not protected,” she said. “Dialogue is good.”

But who defines hate speech? If somebody objects or wants to call Donald Trump a Nazi, they are free to do that. If someone wants to call the mayor a Nazi, that is also his or her right. That’s what America is.

I’m reading “Hamilton” right now. Do you know what things were like back then? There wasn’t one objective paper in the entire United States of America. This idea that there’s some commission to finding hate speech and that it won’t be allowed — how do we do that?

“Well, the ACLU and the courts figure it out pretty well,” Moon responded. “I think we have to raise those issues, debate them, discuss them and figure it out. But speaking against oppressed people; demeaning other people and saying you belong below me, I am better than you – that is not constructive. That’s not helpful. I think we need to build a society that welcomes everyone, that honors everyone but doesn’t allow people to create this hierarchy of power where some people are oppressed.”

Candidate Profiles: Seattle not growing in strategic way | Running against shades of Murray | Solution to every problem is new tax

How do you not allow people to say things? In this country, the only time you get in trouble for a statement that can be construed as speech is when you, for example, burn a cross on someone’s lawn to terrorize them. That will get you locked up. But in a non-violent way, you can say anything you want unless what you say is considered fighting words or are urging someone to riot, hectoring them into laws, or personal threats.

Canada has hate speech rules. Germany has passed laws that have criminalized certain statements. We could do that. Would Moon do that?

“I don’t think that’s a job for the mayor,” she responded.

So when we say, “these kinds of words and speakers are not welcome,” how is that then expressed if she were the mayor?

“I think we can move past that and aim towards a constructive future vision and how do we all thrive here, but demeaning specific groups of people by their race, by their country of origin, is just not OK,” she said. “That’s not who we are as a society.”

Is that her personal view or her stance as a public official, which would, therefore, be enforced somehow?

“It’s a personal view,” she said. “We have a Constitution that defines what is legal and not legal in that realm and that’s not my place as mayor to define new laws for our city.”

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

(Getty Images)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Will an influx of new IRS agents audit the middle class, or the billionaires?

Biden hires 87,000 additional IRS employees. Whom will they audit?
13 hours ago
stick shifts...
Dave Ross

Ross: Stick shifts are disappearing, so enjoy car thieves not knowing how to drive them while you can

I love the ways cars have improved in my lifetime, the safety features, the remarkable mileage, the built-in navigation, but as I become more curmudgeonly, I also have to say that it’s become almost too simple to drive.
2 days ago
trump generals...
Dave Ross

Ross: The Mar-a-Lago raid just inflamed 2024’s expected MAGA campaign

If you want a spellbinding read that will keep your mind off the heat, it’s the New Yorker article about Trump and his generals.
3 days ago
(Photo by Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images)...
Dave Ross

Ross: Peace and quiet as Seafair show noise ends

Seafair is over, the noise has stopped, and the noise discussion can be mothballed until next year.
4 days ago
housing inventory...
MyNorthwest Staff

Housing inventory on the rise in the Pacific Northwest, most available units since 2019

Alongside increased inflation, mortgage rates have spiked nationally, with July's 5.41% mark the highest since June 2009 (5.42%).
7 days ago
alex jones sad jan 6 stop the steal rally...
Dave Ross

Ross: Alex Jones concedes he is 100% a career liar in Sandy Hook defamation case

Do you celebrate because now, even Alex Jones who made a career out of claiming that everything from the Oklahoma City Bombing to Sandy Hook was staged by the government – that even he at last believes?
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
‘That’s not OK’ is Seattle’s new passive-aggressive activism threat