Legendary folk musician Joan Baez, a veteran of the original free speech movement, is standing up for conservative author Ann Coulter.
After a dramatic series of events unfolded last week culminating in the cancellation of Coulter's scheduled lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, Baez, often associated with her work in the Civil Rights movement, posted a statement condemning the censorship.
"Let the Ann Coulters of the world have their say," the 76-year-old musician wrote. "Trying to stop Ann Coulter or Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking or any group from marching will not stop the advance of fascism, but rather might strengthen it."
In her statement, Baez referred to censorship as "one of the 14 characteristics of fascism" and argued it is not a "pathway to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Liberals of all stripes emerged last week to support Coulter's right to speak at Berkeley, but Baez's statement carries new weight.
Back when Berkeley was a battleground for the free speech movement of the 1960's, the newly-minted member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame demonstrated with students.
Per the Los Angeles Times:
The Free Speech Movement got its start in September 1964 after student political groups were told they could no longer use the plaza at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue for "off campus" political action. Students rebelled. An alumnus and civil rights activist who was on campus was arrested by campus police and placed in a police car. Students swarmed the car, deflated its tires, and thousands took over the plaza. For 32 hours, the car was the center of a rally. The movement peaked Dec. 2 with an overnight demonstration of about 2,000 people, including folk singer Joan Baez.
That day, Baez sang "We Shall Overcome" on the steps of Sproul Hall, the very place where students and members of the public demonstrated over Coulter's lecture last week.
That more than 50 years later she is lending her voice to support the free speech rights of embattled conservatives should illuminate how far the Left has drifted from its roots.
In the closing words of her statement on Coulter, Baez issued a warning to her contemporaries. "Let us not turn into what we are fighting against," she cautioned.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.