The parade in Coeur d’Alene was 16 years ago last month. The contrast with that event and the recent fuss over medicine makes it seem as if it happened on another planet.

And let’s be clear, we have no idea whether the medicine is effective against the China virus. We have to be having a good day to even pronounce the name correctly.

It’s not as if anyone should take any advice offered here, but just so we’re clear here: We don’t claim that Hydroxychloroquine cures anything.

It is, however, quite effective in sparking discord.

For the last few months there has been considerable disagreement whether Hydroxychloroquine, along with zinc and some other stuff that doesn’t sound tasty at all, is an effective treatment for the China virus. Last week the debate over Hydroxychloroquine took an ugly turn – one that does not bode well for this country.

And yes, some might think that’s a bit dramatic. But censorship should spark drama in a free society.

The controversy started when President Trump suggested Hydroxychloroquine may be effective in treating COVID-19. That made a lot of people angry because, well – because Orange Man Bad.

Since his remarks there has been a steady stream of reports about Hydroxychloroquine that it works/doesn’t work for treating the China virus.

Studies have been published that prove it works/doesn’t work. Follow-up studies have refuted the original studies. And on and on it goes.

But last week things took quite a turn.

Several doctors had a press conference during which they touted the effectiveness of Hydroxychloroquine. These doctors said they had treated hundreds of COVID-19 patients with good results.

Really good results.

Dr. Stella Immanuel said she knew of some 350 patients treated with the drug, including people afflicted with other maladies including diabetes. Not one patient died. Not one.

Now, that sounds like real news.

Doctors, who treat patients every day, say they found an effective treatment to a virus that has crippled the world. Everyone should agree that is news people should know.

Not so fast.

In fact, when word spread about the press conference and more and more people viewed the video, it was censored. Taken down. Eliminated. Disappeared.

Can you say Red China?

The power brokers at the big tech companies that control so much Internet content decided the doctors were spreading ‘misinformation.’ Never mind the executives at the tech companies have never cared for a patient with the China virus.

They may not work in a hospital, but they do control the information you read and see. And the rich guys in charge deemed what the doctors had to say was information you could not have.

Does Hydroxychloroquine work for the China virus? Maybe, we don’t know. But neither do the tech executives.

It is clear, however, that these doctors who actually care for patients certainly believe it does – and that information should be available to everyone.

Except it was censored. Which has happened a lot lately.

Early on in this China-launched debacle two doctors in California had a news conference in which they were critical of the government’s response to the virus. They were articulate, reasoned and presented valid opinions.

However valid, their opinions were unpopular with the power brokers - that video was also censored.

Allowing people to decide what speech is acceptable in a free country is not a good thing. What’s more, it’s a fairly recent thing.

Consider the awful episode in Coeur d’Alene with the Aryan Nation. Most people remember the band of bigots and Nazis who liked to have parades down Sherman Avenue.

Now, this is horrible stuff done by horrible people. But good people defended their right to speech. You may remember that cops were called in to line the street to protect the Nazis so they could have their hateful march.

Now, nobody needs to hear from Nazis. They have nothing to say that is worth hearing. These are awful people.

But a free country must include free speech to stay that way.

People who use their power to eliminate speech are a threat to everyone’s freedom - like what happened in Germany circa 1933.

DAN HAMMES is publisher of the Gazette Record.

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