Unlike many of my fellow liberals, I was disappointed to hear that the hacktivist group Anonymous had targeted Donald Trump. I remember being equally upset when they targeted the Westboro Baptists. Why? Because protected speech should never, on its own, be met with threats to one's property (digital or otherwise), or their person... even hate speech. That is the minimum level of respect we owe our fellow Americans.
What Anonymous is engaged in is nothing short of intimidation. If you truly value free speech and an open, discourse, this kind of action should scare you. To see self-proclaimed liberals carrying torches and cheering as someone's website is defaced for the merely content of their speech, is profoundly disappointing, especially because there are so many legitimate ways to handle people like Trump or the Westboro Baptists:
1) We can stop doing business with Trump brands.
2) We can protest his remaining business partners until they cease their professional relationships with Mr. Trump.
3) We can demand that the GOP bar him from participating in any further sanctioned debates (not that they would, but the symbolic gesture is worth doing).
4) We can voice our own, contrary opinions. This is perhaps the most important thing we can do; show the world that love and respect are stronger than hate and ignorance.
5) We can hold Mr. Trump legally accountable for any violence against the various groups he has targeted with his vitriol. There are many legal remedies for such speech when it results in violence -- these can, and should be pursued.
If we allow our base desire for justice to overcome our ideals then we are no better than the Trumps of the world, No, we're not yet trying to threaten the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, as that would require government action, but we're not far off from it. The left should reevaluate what it stands for, if this kind of action is to be cheered on.