The Attack on our First Amendment; Freedom of Speech, Must Be Stopped!
A Reason-Rupe survey found that 53 % of people under thirty have a favorable view of socialism and 69% of millennials or generation “Y” people (born in 1982 to 2004), say they would vote for a socialist candidate. As a member of the end of the baby boomer generation, I never would have thought we would see such a shift in thought by any American, but we do.
So where does this change in thought come from in a country built on the principals of individual freedom and limited government?
That bit of prestidigitation aside, the topography of this place is certainly unlike any we have ever seen before. We have arrived in a place where our young people see socialism as a legitimate alternative to our traditional American form of capitalism, and in fact many see it as not only a good alternative but a preferable one because they believe it provides a much better chance of fairness to spread across the land.
On this road we see violence not as an aberration of protest, but a specific tool of protest. One only has to watch TV to see protests of all kinds where the people involved show up with bats, clubs, helmets and face masks intent on causing injury and destruction.
Our constitution has at its core the right of the people to express themselves and protest things they don’t like. Martin Luther King Jr. used protests very successfully to bring about change to our country where change was needed, but today’s protesters don’t seem willing to make a better argument for their point of view through reasoned discussion of facts, instead they plan to beat their point of view into the heads of those who disagree.
I saw a photo of a group of young people all dressed in black, their faces covered and carrying a banner that said “Kill more cops”. This photo could serve as a billboard on the road we have chosen as we move towards the future.
The reality of police officer ambushes and executions that are taking place across the country give evidence to the dangerous route we are on. Almost every day we see police officers murdered for nothing more than doing their jobs; protecting you and me and our families.
These murders are rightly condemned by many people who see the attacks as not just an attack on police officers, which is horrible on its own, but on our way of life, our society and the traditions all the previous generations of Americans have sacrificed for. Worse yet we see the murder of police officers are celebrated and held up as examples of a righteous revolution, as the photo I described depicted very clearly.
When violence against fellow citizens is seen as an appropriate way to press your point of view and our leaders support these actions either by outright saying so or in a more veiled way by not saying anything, then we, the citizens are left to fend for ourselves.
Some people may think I am way off on this perception of the road; fair enough, but let’s look at some of the changes that have already cemented themselves into our culture.
The attack on our first amendment; freedom of speech, must be stopped. This hallmark of the American experiment was groundbreaking in the world of human endeavor. We the people are free to say whatever we think, make our case for a point of view or a belief and engage in a battle of ideas.
If a particular belief is found to be repugnant by our fellow citizens, such as the neo-Nazi movement and its call for white supremacy, then we reject it, isolate it and call it out for its evil. This ability to allow the conversation in the first place is the power of the right delineated in the constitution, no matter how horrible the point of view is.
What we can lose track of when evaluating the value of the first amendment, is that no matter how disgusting a point of view may be, if we shut it down then sometime in the future, when a point of view that we believe in is called into focus we can be silenced as well.
This is a truth, like it or not. Speech is either free or it is not.
What’s frightening is that we see a powerful movement of our fellow citizens deciding to change this basic element of our freedom because they don’t like certain points of view or certain words. Their decision to ban these thoughts or words may seem like an easy way to rid ourselves of evil, hurtful thoughts and ideas thereby making our country a better place and protecting those injured by words or thoughts; but in reality it weakens all of our rights. Because someday our thoughts and ideas which may be in favor today, may at some future date be deemed as bad and then we will be silenced.
A simple view of history reveals that the default position of humanity is tyranny; the strongest overpower the weakest and set the rules. America was the exception to this rule, a fact that was clear even to the founders. Ben Franklin was asked as he exited the Constitutional Convention; “What kind of government do we have” and he answered in what we can see now as a very wise response when he said “A republic, if you can keep it”.
This answer points out the very delicate balance that exists between maintaining freedom and liberty and falling back into tyranny. If we can keep it; Franklin’s words meaning it was up to us, the people to protect our freedoms. Free speech is one of the greatest weapons for freedom.
The killing of police officers as a symbol of the proper way to change our society and the harshness of our national discussions is a recipe for disaster. The road we have chosen is a hard one, in a few short years the next generation will take over the levers of power on all levels of our world; what will they do to protect our freedoms?
Our police officers are a symbol of our agreement to live in a civilized world where the rule of law trumps anger and hatred, where we are all entitled to live our lives as we see fit. When we abandon that concept and trash all that has come before and we forget the lessons we have learned over the last 240 years we abandon the American experiment.
We have an obligation to treat all of the members of our American family with respect, dignity and care. We should examine our flaws and correct them in a peaceful and thoughtful manner and honor our history for the value it has brought to us and the world. If we don’t then our trip beyond the crossroads will be a very painful one.
Next thing you know we will see a movement to purge all of our history in favor a new more enlightened society; people will shoot politicians on a baseball field out of hatred, we will rip down statues and monuments in the name of justice, we will silence all opposition to our new thoughts and anyone who doesn’t agree will be destroyed. This has become a scary place, and this new world order is fast approaching.
I have been CHASING JUSTICE throughout my career friends. My goal is to be THE VOICE for the voiceless. Do watch for my new talk show on America Out Loud, appropriately named CHASING JUSTICE. Reach out with your own stories and thoughts on justice… JPanagro@Americaoutloud.com