Election 2020 Kamala Harris

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris speaks during the Iowa Democratic Party's Liberty and Justice Celebration, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

For those who are not familiar with Sen. Kamala Harris, she is one of 18 Democratic candidates vying to be the presidential nominee. She currently represents California. 

On both the campaign trail and the debate stage, Harris frequently refers to her time working as the California attorney general. 

So, Harris should be particularly familiar with the law — yet her push to ban President Trump from Twitter contradicts her background. 

Harris unapologetically vocalized her desire to remove the president from Twitter. On Sept. 30, Harris used her own Twitter account to tweet, “Look, let’s be honest, @realDonaldTrump’s Twitter account should be suspended.” But why should Harris decide who has a voice on social media and who doesn’t?

The original Bill of Rights contained 10 Amendments. Of those amendments, the Founding Fathers designated the protection of fundamental freedoms as the First Amendment. That placement was not coincidental. The First Amendment is commonly referred to as the most important amendment and the backbone of the United States. The First Amendment ensures Americans live in a society with freedom of speech, religion and the press.

Social media is an extension of free speech, and I view Twitter as a microphone: It is an outlet for all individuals to voice their opinions.  

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is another politician who communicates frequently via Twitter. I disagree with Ocasio-Cortez on nearly every topic, but I would never want to infringe on Ocasio-Cortez’s rights. No voice should be silenced because a person or group of people disagrees with it.

I can’t come to terms with why Harris wants to remove the president from Twitter. If Harris genuinely believes Trump’s tweets are ridiculous and irresponsible, then why would she want to shield his supposed ignorance from the public? Harris should want to spread awareness of Trump’s speech. It frightens me that Harris envisions a Twitter where only those aligned with her political ideology are allowed to speak their minds.

Harris’ Trump ban threatens our democracy. Although Harris commonly discusses her progressive ideas, her current demand would be a major step back. No individual has the right to decide who gets to employ the freedom of speech. 

Whether you like or dislike his content, the consequences of banning Trump from Twitter are too dangerous. Suspending someone from social media simply because you do not like what they have to say violates the First Amendment. If Harris gets her way, she will create a detrimental precedent that if someone powerful disagrees with you, they can infringe upon your free speech. 

We must fight to protect the liberties of all people, not just those we agree with. 

Carly Sloane Gettleman is a UF public relations junior