An Open Letter to Ann Coulter:
You may remember me from your speech in London on Monday, but it might help if I reintroduce myself as the young man who posed the final question to you during the rather animated question period.
I give you credit; you deftly fielded the mixture of support and indignation you received after your rousing performance at the lectern, where you used an incredibly broad range of specific examples to illustrate your conservative ideologies. Actually, it would be incorrect for me to refer to myself as having asked the final question, because — truth be told, you cut me off and ended your presentation before I was able to ask.
I came home from your speech feeling rather unsettled and maybe even perturbed, and I’ll admit I didn’t sleep as well as I would have hoped. You see, as a student at Western, I’m not accustomed to being interrupted mid-sentence in those large, daunting lecture halls, or even on the more benign campus in general, which many might suggest to be a “marketplace of ideas.” I gather you’re fond of that phrase — “marketplace of ideas,” since you are touted as a free speech advocate and a rather famous one at that.
In fact, you cut me off by remarking that “there is either free speech, or no speech,” and I must say, I find that statement suspicious when used in the context of stopping somebody before they have had a chance to ask their question. It was, after all, during a segment called “question period.” Perhaps, if you wouldn’t mind, I will pose my question in its entirety since I believe it is both an important and challenging one to address. It may even help you in shoring up your stance on free speech, since it is often helpful to use borderline cases to establish a boundary.
So, bearing in mind your adamant endorsement for free speech, here goes:
“What is to be done when my child comes home from school and tells me she learned in history class that the holocaust never happened?”
When you take an all-or-nothing stance on an issue like free speech, these are the questions, but hopefully not ever the realities, that you need to address.