Freedom of Speech Under Attack
Lee’s Summit, January 18, 2011 – A quick review of Google News will show you quickly how much under attack our First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
We are the only nation who has in the Constitution the freedom of speech. Yet over the last decade we’ve seen how far people in general are willing to accept the constant infringement into our God given and Constitutionally affirmed right to speak our minds, to make our points and move forward to find a solution.
On the web you can find places like Death and Taxes, which says they are an Indie music and culture website publishing a supposed News story by Stephen Blackwell “Should Sarah Palin Be indicted for Incitement to Violence?” At first glance it appears to be a simple minded and factless attack on Sarah Palin. But if you read it carefully you find that the key point Mr. Blackwell is making is that, even without any evidence, people like Palin, Limbaugh and Beck should be held accountable for Tucson.
No, not for their actions, but for their speech.
Paul Krugman’s OpEd piece Januray 8, 2011 in The New York Times Assassination Attempt in Arizona takes another shot at the Freedom of Speech that allowed Mr. Krugman to write his opinion piece. He hides his disdain for opposing free speech by attacking Palin, and then going further to say the following:
You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.
Again the focus is in the spoken or written word, and not as the title of the piece suggests; the acts of killer.
Another article by Carl Hulse and Kate Zernike, published on the New York Times on January 8, 2011 titled “Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics” takes a not so hidden attack on our Freedom of Speech by saying:
…it quickly focused attention on the degree to which inflammatory language, threats and implicit instigations to violence have become a steady undercurrent in the nation’s political culture…
The good news, if there is any, is that they are not trying to prevent your freedom of speech or mine, but they attack it in the halls of Congress as well.
If we’re going to talk about Tucson, then let the conversation be about the sadness and the unfairness of a one man killing spree: it is immoral to use such a tragedy to continue to attack the First Amendment, and to try to sensor our speech.
In the decades that led to the American Revolution, the writing of the Constitution and the Federalist papers people remembered what it was like to live in 18th Century Europe where the Royals defined proper speech, and the right religion. Our founders knew – from personal and family experience – that speech and religion were fundamental rights that had to be protected.
They could have baked it into the Constitutional Articles, but instead used the Amendment process to pass the Bill of Rights, so they would stand out and be noticed by all.
These God given inalienable rights are under attack today. They are challenged by the common phrase “Political Correctness”, and by the constant barrage of offended people who claim that words are harmful.
What ever happened to “sticks and stones may break my bones; but Words Will Never Hurt Me”?
To those who will inevitably point out that there are limits, I will agree with you. The limit is set when you cross the line and libel someone. The line is crossed when a mob incited actions purposefully to do harm to others. Yet peer pressure does not justify the actions of the individual.
Stand up for your rights!
The Lee’s Summit Conservative