Typically I try not to adress extremely political issues, but then I realized that I am an extremely politically minded person and NOT addressing these issues bothered me more then potentially offending someone.
So here it goes.
This weekend is the almost perfect embodiement of an American Summer. BBQs outside, fireworks, parades, outdoor fun and down home patriotic celebratin’.
However, this year, there are certain groups and individuals who, rather then taking the time to honor this time of year and and this Great Land of Freedom which Men and Women have Lived and Died to protect, they see fit to attack and take advantage of what they do have while gripping and straight out vocally assaulting others because of what they don’t.
The first issue I’m going to address, one that has been tossed about so freely I’m not sure who actually knows what it means anymore…
The first amendment of the United States.
“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.” – Bill of Rights
If you actually read it and look at the words themselves, what do they say?
The first part of the amendment actually makes no mention of “freedom of speech” which is what this particularly amendment has been immortilized as protecting (which it does, just later on).
Actually, it first addresses religious freedom. It has two main points. One, that congress will make no Law respecting an Establishment of religion. Look carefully at those capitilized words. It does not prohibit congress from Practicing religion, only Establishing their own. If anyone has seen Purge: Election day, basically what they did there was unconsitional because they created their own religion based around the Purge, which they made into law. The second part is that they can not prohibit the Free Excercise thereof. This has been a major issue in recent years, especially following the passing of the Affordable Care Act which infringed on the religious rights of many individuals.
Now, the third point of the amendment.
Where to begin with this one.
I have a right to speak freely. I do not have a right to threaten to murder someone (this is actually illegal, yes), or convince them to commit suicide when they are mentally unstable.
You have a right to speak freely, same as me. You have the right to tell me you are offended by what I say, and I have the right to freely ignore you because offending someone is not illegal. Let me say that again for the back. “Offending Someone Is NOT Illegal.”
The same goes for the press, except things are slightly more complicated. The press have certain obligations in communication that surpasses what little me has. They are expected to provide truthful coverage of major news stories, yet they have to do this while remaining non-biased and without comprimising any military actions that could affect national security or endanger American lives.
The press corp is kind of screwed up these days.
Now, the freedom to peacably assemble.
People tend to forget that pesky little “peacably” that kind of implies you don’t actually DO anything. No flipping cars, no physical assaults, no fire bombing cars or shops. That is criminal activity.
“But it falls under freedom of speech!” No, not really. Freedom of speech says the government will not restrict your speech, it does not mean you can go around burning cars, and flags, and assaulting people. Again, this is criminal activity because it goes against acting with human decency as well as disregards respect of life, liberty, and property for anyone else’s but yours.
None of these violent actions fall under “freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances” either. Call your congressmen.
Having taken a semi-close look at the first amendment (I reccomend a full course of study on the constitution however) I would like to bring up a story I read recently, the bulk of which occured a month ago.
I would like to speak on one Holly O’Reilly.
Apprantly, and she openly admitted this because it was her own writing I was reading, she would actively troll the President on twitter. Anytime he posted, she would post rude and insulting comment back. Then one day, she finds out that the President blocked her on social media, along with dozens of other people who like her would post derogatory comments.
This she believes is an enroachment on her 1st amendment right. O’Reilly alleges that “How could the president systematically block dozens of people who simply didn’t agree with him? This is an elected official trying to silence an entire sector of the dissenting populace. This is what dictators and fascists do. This isn’t what we do here in America.”
Sweetie, he blocked you on twitter, he didn’t send the FBI to your house. What he did was what any human being who was being harrased over the internet would do.
Another reason it does not go against your constitutional rights is because he didn’t make a law that you couldn’t post on twitter at all, he didn’t make a law to confiscate your computer and phone. He blocked you. You are still free to say whatever you legally would like to on any other plateform, including the Washington Post, you just can’t say it on his twitter account. (BTW, as a side note, since when is this kind of behavior in regards to communicating with elected officials considered admirable, when if high schoolers do it it’s considered cyber bullying? Think about it).
So you and the dozens of other people he blocked can go about your days and respond to the President’s actions on your own pages knowing you are still perfectly free to do so. Just as I am perfectly free to block you if you post anything insulting about me on my twitter (which I don’t actually have, but if I did…).
Not to mention, he was acting as an individual, not as the government as a whole. Congress did not have a special session to discuss blocking you.
People tend to forget that while the President is the Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces, and the leader of various government groups, he does not write the laws and he does not sit on the court to decide what is constitutional. Congress writes laws that the president will sign or not sign. Congress writes the budget, the President can communicate with them about what he would like to see done, but they are under no obligation to do any of it. And of course the Supreme Court can undo any law made if it is found to be unconstitutional.
Therefore, when you read the constitution, understand that they say “Government” not “President” not “Speaker of the House”. The government as a whole can not pass any laws that represses 1. Freedom of religion 2. Freedom of speech 3. Freedom of the press 4. Freedom of assembly
And 5, the freedom for an individual to block a harrassing troll on their social media.
Happy Fourth of July