“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.”
These are the words that have stood for over 200 years in this country, born on the belief of our Founding Fathers that government was not the only body that had the right of Freedom of Speech but that it belongs to the People and is an integral part of our republic. In 1801, Thomas Jefferson re-affirmed the principle when he stated: “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.” Let us examine that last bit – “where reason is left free to combat it”.
Thomas Jefferson believed in the ability of the Republic to allow dissenting opinions and through reason (not censorship or regulation) stand undisturbed in the end. Free Speech is essential to the influence of the people on government and not just in an election but whenever the People are so moved to express themselves regarding the actions of government or potential actions of government. As Lady Libertas has stated before, we do not lose our rights simply because our preferred candidate loses an election.
The Supreme Court has been the bulwark in defending free speech and checking the Legislative Branch’s moves to over-regulate or censor said speech. In Whitney v. California (1927), Justice Louis Brandeis wrote that “freedom to think as you will and to speak as you think are means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth.” In the words of Justice Thurgood Marshall in the 1974 case Procunier v. Martinez, “The First Amendment serves not only the needs of the polity but also those of the human spirit — a spirit that demands self-expression.”
Debate, Consensus, Expression are the foundations of free speech. We do not have a monarch that passes a decree to which we all must submit, as much as Barack Obama would like to see himself in that position. We have an elected government “of the people, for the people, by the people” and that government is bound to adhere to our Constitution. This does not mean that they get to adhere to the Constitution only when they agree or when the agreement serves their own purposes.
Currently, we have a Congress and administration that is pushing forward an agenda that many of us disagree with fundamentally. We believe that this agenda will change the very fabric of our country and undermine our Constitutional rights. We are gathering and organizing to participate in our government and express our concerns about legislation that is going to be voted on in a few weeks. We are seeking answers from an administration that is placing Czars in positions of power over our lives with no accountability and transparency. We are exercising our First Amendment rights.
It seems that almost daily, a new threat to our freedom and our Constitution is being exposed. We have a President that is more enamored of the sound of his words than the content and we have been treated to broken promises, out of control spending and a Legislature that appears horrified that the American People have an opinion and are willing to defend it.
Whether you agree with my personal opinions or not, it is your duty as an American to inform yourself and participate in the process. The process is not just on election day – the process is happening daily and is being funded by our taxes, our hard work. These issues will affect us all and we must be aware of the impact and the far-reaching effects before it is too late.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant – so let’s ask a few questions:
- Healthcare will affect 1/7 of our economy – Do we, as Americans, want the federal government inserting themselves into our relationships with our healthcare professionals? Do we expect our elected officials to read the legislation BEFORE they vote on it? Should our elected officials be allowed to exempt themselves from the healthcare plan that they want to inflict on the American People? Should our government be accountable to fix the glaring problems of the healthcare programs that they are currently administering before they criticize and irrevocably alter the private sector and our access to the private sector? Those of us who oppose the government takeover of healthcare have been labeled mobsters, evil mongerererers, un-American, Nazi brown shirts, etc… and this is from our ELECTED OFFICIALS – why don’t they want to hear public opinion? In case anyone has forgotten the outcry over the Bush administration, let me refresh your memory here in a post by Zomblog about the Bush protests.
- The Obama Administration has by best count approximately 50 “Czar” positions. These Czars are influencing if not effecting policy on a daily basis. Many of them have skipped Senate confirmations or any kind of process, having been appointed directly by Obama. Who are these people? What do they stand for? Who are they accountable to and who is paying for their budgets and staffs? What are their limits? (Link to my most recently updated post on the Czars)
- Censorship is not American. It is not supported in the Constitution and it is not a practice that represents the freedom that defines America. The FCC has a new Chief Diversity Officer, Mark Lloyd, who has the apparent mission of shutting down radio communications for stations that he does not agree with – specifically, Conservative and Christian radio. He has praised Rwandan and Venezuelan state run radios in bringing about social change (hmmm like censorship and state sponsored terrorism?). This has raised the issue of the Fairness Doctrine which was quelled by Reagan and the courts in 1987. Mark Lloyd has not been shy of revealing his agenda by any means: “We trace the rise and influence of Rush and other conservative radio hosts to relaxed ownership rules and other pro-big business regulation that destroyed localism…” – is this just shutting down the opposition? Should Bush have employed the same means against Liberal talk radio? Lloyd also co-wrote “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio” in 2007 – uber-liberal Marxism at its best.
- How about Green Czar, Van Jones using the organization that he founded, colorofchange.org, to begin a campaign against Glenn Beck by targeting his sponsors & pressuring them to drop his show? I am not debating that Americans have the right to boycott Glenn Beck or his sponsors (they certainly do and can choose to NOT watch him as well) but I am debating whether the mandate should have come from the White House? It seems like a blatant censorship attempt against an American talk show host who is asking uncomfortable but valid questions of our government.
- ACORN is an organization that receives enormous amounts of federal funding – $53 million dollars since 1994 (See Washington Examiner Report that includes spreadsheet of funds that ACORN has received) and is now under criminal indictment. ACORN seems to have a lot of fingers in the Obama pie and despite charges of voter fraud in several states, they continue to be a go-to organization by Obama, including rumors that they will receive the contract for the 2010 census.
- An emergency ruling has been filed with the Secretary of State for New York that mandates flu vaccinations for all healthcare workers in the State of New York (both paid and unpaid) – any worker that does not comply will have their employment terminated. Interestingly, the flu vaccine that is being mandated is the seasonal flu vaccine and not the H1N1. This mandate is opposed by the majority of healthcare workers in New York for obvious reasons. Workers in nursing homes are unaffected, because to require them to receive the vaccine would require legislation – so the “emergency” does not extend to the burden of proof required by legislation. (Link to New York State Nurses Association regarding mandatory flu vaccines)
- Proposed US Senate Bill S773 (See copy of the bill here at Open Congress) allows for the President to disconnect private computers from the Internet in times of emergency. WHAT? It also allows for “periodic mapping” of private networks by the federal government and anything that the President deems to be a threat to the “critical infrastructure information system” could be disconnected from the internet. Seems like another sector that Obama is intent on taking over – here is the CNET story about the proposed bill.
- We need to list the whole fishy debacle here to include the snitch program, compilation of private citizen’s emails, spamming by Axelrod of Americans who are STILL wondering how the government got their email addresses and all of the implications of infringement upon free speech that the above would include. That could be a few posts in and of itself. Suffice to say that the whole fishy issue turned the fishy eye onto the Obama Administration and their practices.
- CIA Investigation by Attorney General, Eric Holder on enhanced interrogation techniques employed on TERRORISTS that led to preventing future terrorist attacks on Americans. Eric Holder, apparently out of sync with Obama, has decided to pursue the CIA interrogators which, of course, will allow for him to pursue members of the Bush Administration as well. And why? Because they do not agree with the lawful practices of the previous administration and to voice their disagreement, Holder will lead a witch hunt which will lead to the breakdown of our Intelligence Services, undermine our Intelligent Services both internally and externally and damage our National Security, all at the very least. Perhaps Holder should be pursuing real criminals like the Black Panthers or ACORN and I wonder why that is not a target for him? This begins a dangerous precedent to allow current Administrations to go back and target policies that they did not agree with and criminalize them. Officers that crossed the line were disciplined and, in some cases, prosecuted under the Bush Administration so what is the point now? Will Pelosi be included in this sweep? And will we lose one of our vital defenses against Terrorists as Holder deconstructs the CIA to carry out a political grudge?
Obama has asked us to judge him by the people that are surrounding him. The cadre of Czars is composed of activists, radicals and self-admitted Communists and Socialists. As well, we are being treated to how very Leftist Liberal many of our lawmakers are, as Rep. Diane Watson gushed over the weekend as to what a very “bright leader Fidel Castro is”(see video here) and Harry Reid’s disappointment that Teddy Kennedy’s death may force him into bipartisanship negotiations.
Vigilance and bipartisanship negotiation are required in the days ahead – not just by our elected officials and government watchdogs but by the People. We must be engaged to protect against the systematic de-construction of our Freedoms before we wake up and do not recognize the country that we live in.