Culture Wars/Current Controversies

No point in ‘alarmist rhetoric’ over US undemocratic measures under Trump

Press TV. Listen here.

There is no reason to step up “alarmist rhetoric” in the wake of the undemocratic trend across the US under President Donald Trump, says a senior political commentator.

Keith Preston, the chief editor and director at, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV while commenting on a recent statement by two independent experts at the United Nations.

Since Trump won the White House, at least 19 states have introduced undemocratic bills in state legislatures “with the purpose or effect of criminalizing peaceful protests,” read the statement by David Kaye and Maina Kiai.

According to Preston, “What is happening now is nothing that’s particularly new; Free speech and right to peaceful protests have been under attack in the United States for a number of years.”

The analyst referenced measures to crack down on free speech and the right to assembly in recent US history, noting that “this kind of thing has happened in numerous other circumstances.”

Trump’s victory in the last year’s presidential election, however, has caused a “wave of protests over certain issues that have come to the forefront.”

The reason for that, Preston argued is that the businessman-turned-president is an “extremely controversial figure” and is “widely opposed by a substantial segment of the US population.”

“What is happening now is that different levels of the government in the United States, primarily in some of the individual states, [where] legislators introduced potential legislation to try to curb protests essentially by chipping away at protest rights.”

They are also trying to give law enforcement “more tools” to use against protesters “or things of that nature.”

Preston further stated that such legislation, proposed at the state rather than the federal level, will not necessarily turn into law and may be blocked by US courts.

“Also this legislation is simply proposed legislation. To my knowledge no of this legislation has actually passed,” he said, concluding that “there’s no point to sounding a lot of alarmist rhetoric about free speech; rights being taken away in a unique or special way.”

He concluded that the statement by the United Nations’ experts is “certainly worth paying attention to… but it’s not out of the norm.”

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