Jennifer Keeton, Repression of Belief, and the Growth of Fascism in America
-- By Frank J. Yacenda 7/30/10
Jennifer Keeton is a 24-year-old graduate student enrolled in a counseling degree program at Georgia’s Augusta State University. She also in the past couple of days achieved national fame or notoriety, depending on one’s perspective, owing to her filing a lawsuit against Augusta State in which she claims the university is seeking to repress her religious views on the subject of homosexuality.
Jennifer believes, based on her religious doctrine, that homosexuality is wrong. I may not agree with her views or her religion, but that is immaterial. She believes it, and that is her right as a free American and a human being. How dare anyone – whether a university, department, or individual professors or administrators – attempt to suppress her views, her beliefs? How outrageous it is that this tax-supported university and its out-of-control departmental operatives would try to repress this student and apply pressure and penalties – up to and including the threat of dismissal from the program – to force her to change her beliefs.
What is happening in this country? Where have we come to? This is a direct affront to the First Amendment rights of an individual, coming down both on Ms. Keeton’s rights of free speech and freedom of religious belief, perpetrated by an organ of the state and with official institutional sanction under whatever guise the university chooses to justify its abuse. On its face, this is nothing short of Fascism of the first order, and here it is right on our college campuses.
The argument the University raises is that there are professional “ethical” standards that require its counseling graduates to meet that they be sensitive to a wide group of cultural and socio-sexual groups, including homosexuals. But there are no indications that Jennifer is unethical or incompetent. She has done well in her courses, and her religious views do not of themselves preclude her from treating her future patients with compassion and professionalism. Her beliefs, in any event, are personal and conscientious and are not properly under the purview of the university – properly and traditionally a place where diverse views are brought together and vigorously debated – or of the state.
Beyond that, what she does with her career and who chooses to hire her, or with whom she chooses to practice, are all decisions beyond the scope of the university or its program. What we see instead is that this malady known as Political Correctness (PC) has become entrenched in a standard and program and university, and program administrators are using it as a weapon against Ms. Keeton. And who knows how many other students across America in similar, if less publicly profiled, situations, are likewise being browbeaten or outright told to change their personal beliefs in relentless pursuit of the religion of PC.
I think Jennifer should prevail easily in the courts, but who knows how far this insanity of PC has come to spread even within the courts? Just look at what happened yesterday in Phoenix with federal Judge Susan Bolton issuing her outrageous decision to temporarily enjoin the key elements of Arizona’s new anti-illegal immigration law, which otherwise went into effect today, and which simply is intended to enable the state of Arizona to protect itself from the blight and crisis of illegal immigration in light of the federal government’s failure to do so.
I hate to say it, but this Fascism is rooted in my generation, we who came of age in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It started with intolerance and a kind of moral superiority, faux as it may have been, bred of opposition to the Vietnam War and the social upheavals – much of which yielded positive changes – of the period. It grew out of groups such as the Weather Undergound that morphed from pursuing reasonable and even admirable objectives into a Fascistic, repressive, narrow-minded, and violent movement. And it has spread so far beyond that, from repressive and obsessive feminism to the whole PC movement, a quasi-religious belief system in its own right that constitutes the current base of Fascism in America, and most especially within academia, today.
I think back on a certain friend of mine, my dear friend Nick, and how he was treated by these young Fascists when he came to visit me on my campus of Rutgers University c. 1970. Nick was in the Army, and a medic, and just because he had short hair he was harassed and berated by these radical creeps. Even as one who opposed the War myself (a fact itself equally immaterial to the issue), I was shocked and embarrassed by that behavior then, and I still am. And this is the same intolerant mentality, gone wild and institutionalized, that we are seeing in the Keeton case at Augusta State, and all across academia in this country, in Canada, and beyond. And I am indeed very sorry to say that it is my generation that has bred and is behind it.
Well, I am of that generation, but I am outraged. And I am energized. I want, need, to act, must act. It is time for a true revolt in this country. I don’t know who is going to take the mantel of leadership in that revolt, but it must be an intergenerational, broad-based opposition, across all race, class, and cultural lines. And it is urgently needed.
I fear if we don’t deal a decisive – not just a marginal, but a decisive – defeat to these forces of Fascism, beginning with the Congressional elections in November but going far beyond that, then it is all over. We can kiss this country and whatever freedoms we have left good-bye.
A victory in Congress by those supporting freedom and our Constitutional rights is not enough. It is just a start, a beginning of stopping the bleeding. This Fascism must be rooted out across America, in political, and social, and business, and especially academic and educational circles and spheres. It is going to take a massive campaign, and frankly we may be past the point of no return. Further, we cannot count on either of the two duopoly parties to make these changes since they both have a stake in maintaining the status quo.
Duopoly is not a term original to me, but that is the reality. Not exactly a monopoly, since it has two major components, the Democratic and Republican parties, but it is a duopoly, one monolith with two components, both furthering and supporting the monolith for their own self-interest but at this point in history to the detriment of the country and its people.
Can you tell I am angry? Furious, actually. And deeply, deeply concerned. What will it take to get people’s attention to turn back this tide of repressive Fascistic sewage, this collective insanity where right is wrong, wrong is rewarded, and right punished, before it is too late?
Paraphrasing American Revolutionary patriot Tom Paine, these truly are
times that try our souls. And it is time to get off the sidelines, get out
of the deaf-and-drunk show that paralyzes us and allows this Fascism to
grow, both incrementally and by leaps and bounds, before it finally is too
late and we all are its unwitting and unwilling captives.
Frank Yacenda is a businessperson, writer, and social and political commentator. He served as a Foreign Service Officer for 11 years with the U.S. State Department and his career includes service as a journalist, publisher, and marketing and public relations practitioner. Mr. Yacenda currently heads Alpha Opportunities International and AcquaPro Worldwide. He has formed a non-profit organization, Watch Fires for America, to help bring America back to Constitutional values and principles of fiscal and personal responsibility.
© Copyright 2010, Frank J. Yacenda. All rights reserved. May be reproduced and disseminated by any means provided it is distributed in full with no changes and with proper attribution and including this full copyright statement.