“A Free and Fair Exchange of Ideas” – A Brief 1-Act Play

Scene: The town square of Peasantville, USA

A group of fascists and nihilists have gathered opposite a similar number of protesters. The latter hold signs with messages like “#Impeach!” and the definition of an emolument

PROTESTERS (chanting): Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Donald Trump has got to go! Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Donald Trump…

FASCIST MOUTH-BREATHER: Hey, git yer ‘Murica hating asses out if you don’t love this country’s president!

PROTESTER: You don’t understand, man, this guy is going to burn down everything!

FASCIST: I dun know nuthin’ bout nunna that, but I know he’s gonna put dem furriners and negroes in their place, and make ‘Murica great again! (adjusts his red MAGA hat with satisfaction)

PROTESTER: So you’re just a racist piece of shit then, straight up? Go f*** yourself.

NIHILIST: Excuse me, but why do you hate free speech?

PROTESTER: Excuse ME! What are you talking about, I’m in the middle of a protest!

NIHILIST: Oh, I must have misheard you. I could have sworn you told my associate here to go f*** himself.

PROTESTER: Well, yeah, I did. He’s a racist piece of shit, after all.

NIHILIST: So, you aren’t interested in what he has to say?

PROTESTER (agitated): C’mon, dude, this isn’t the sa-

NIHILIST: I thought you believed in free speech! We are two citizens here, you and I, and I just want to have a conversation with you. Now, are you aware that nine out of every ten crime victims is white, and nine out of every ten criminals is non-white?

PROTESTER: Well, no, I didn’t know that because it’s not-

NIHILIST: And did you also know that hundreds of college campuses have begun rolling out campus speech codes and trigger warnings in their syllabi? And that wages would be 89% higher without illegal immigrants taking jobs away from REAL Americans?

PROTESTER (overwhelmed): That all sounds like total bulls-

NIHILIST (becoming more animated): Don’t interrupt, you liberals have been silencing conservatives for long enough!!! My associates have brought along a wealth of literature to educate people on the depravity and corrupting nature of various ethnicities, complete with color-coded charts mapping particular deficiencies to particular races! We have facts and figures, credible journals, EVIDENCE, man! And we demand a free and fair exchange of ideas!

PROTESTER: Well, I suppose that would be alright, I’m totally convinced of the rightness of my position, and I suppose more debate is always good! Let’s set this up! Alright gang, pack it in. We’re going to need to set up a couple podiums and a sound system- it’s time to take racism head on in the marketplace of ideas!

The protest begins to disperse, slowly, with many attendees visibly confused about what just happened. A moderated debate is held between the FASCIST and the PROTESTER, with the audience scoring a virtual tie. It’s broadcast on the Internet, and gives the impression to young potential fascists at home that being a racist and authoritarian piece of shit is a legitimate political viewpoint worthy of discussion. 

After the debate, NIHILIST starts several fires around the venue and sleeps soundly that evening.

(I really like it when Roy Edroso does stuff like this, so all credit/blame to him for inspiring me.)