A few weeks ago I had a note disagreeing with something I said. Then the writer ask me not to cite what was said, so I won't but there was one line that made my mouth drop open for a couple of reasons. The author referred to my love of the 1st Amendment. According to the writer, I "constantly site (sic)" it.
They are right. I am kinda partial to that whole first amendment thingy. Other than the tiny guarantee of a free press thing, and that whole free speech, yeah, I kinda like that whole first amendment. But just in case you haven't read it lately, let's just go through it.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...
I'm constantly amazed by how this is read in reverse. Everyone says, "separation of church and state"...meaning that churches can't influence the state. It's quite obvious that this is soooo not true. The dear 1st Amendment says that the government can't make a law that sets up a religion. It can't tell you what to believe and it gets better!
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
... they can't stop you from practicing religion, any religion. In other words, they can't shut down churches...not even over COVID as they did in some states.
or abridging the freedom of speech,..
For those not sure what "abridging" is talking about, it means "reducing" so this COULD read "the government can't make a law limiting speech."
This is a big one for me. In this 21st century, freedom of speech is being policed by Facebook under the guise of "Community Standards." It is being decided by some obscure "Fact Checkers" who probably have no idea what the First Amendment even is. Until Elon Musk took over Twitter, you could be thrown off that platform if the mob decided that you were somehow "dangerous" for using words.
Unfortunately, our society has been brainwashed into thinking that you can't say what you think. Even on this website, attempts were made to shame or put pressure on people who entered the conversations happening here. I even had a private investigator thinking that they needed to discover the identity of a letter writer. That's where we are.
The funniest comment I heard was that "it's not even REAL people writing." Our technology hasn't gotten to the place...yet...where it can fake a specific opinion. So at this point, letters are still written by REAL people.
Quite frankly, I have no problem putting letters out as long as I know who it's from. Is it fair that I know and you don't? I think it is. I understand that we live in a very crazy world right now. I also understand that living in a small town, it's impossible to share your REAL feelings at the risk of perhaps losing your job or it affecting a job. Or your friendships. Or maybe even your family.
Remember pen names aren't unusual. Remember Mark Twain? How about Charles Dickens. Or Dr. Seuss. How about Louisa May Alcott? Or we can talk about C.S. Lewis, Benjamin Franklin, Agatha Christie, Voltaire.
Back in the good ol' days, people talked politics and then went on about their business. Not now. Now there is an obsession with shutting people down. As I saw, a desire to hunt them down and reveal them.
Our society has gotten to the place where we want to limit free speech by calling things that we don't like, "hate speech." This is where I roll my eyes a little. According to The Legalities Of Hate Speech (thelawdictionary.org) they say, "According to U.S. law, such speech is fully permissible and is not defined as hate speech. Under the First Amendment, American citizens have the legal right to say whatever they'd like to. While much ado is often made about so-called "hate speech", no satisfactory definition for this type of speech exists within the confines of the law."
I'm not for people showing their ignorance, and yet, the ignorant are allowed to speak. What are you gonna do? It's okay to say whatever you want, as long as you aren't threatening someone, you're still allowed to say it. As I type that I'm having flashbacks because apparently, that's not completely true either. Personal experience says that you can make threats.
Anyway, that free speech thing, well, the government can't make laws shushing you. At least the constitution says you can't. The bad part is that our society is very quick to shut down free speech.
We are probably just a few decades from being hauled off for saying something someone doesn't like.
Remember that country that we fought to be free from? The one that gave us a reason for this 1st Amendment? In England you can be arrested for "hate speech."
"Hate speech laws in England and Wales are found in several statutes. Expressions of hatred toward someone on account of that person's colour, race, sex, disability, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin, religion, gender reassignment, or sexual orientation is forbidden. Any communication which is threatening or abusive, and is intended to harass, alarm, or distress someone is forbidden. The penalties for hate speech include fines, imprisonment, or both."
Ah, the use of words that causes "distress." I would bet that this article has done that already for some of you. In England I could be fined and hauled off to jail. Glad to say that my ancestors left that country!
or of the press;
Ah, the sweetest word for me, the whole idea of the freedom of the press. Without the press snooping around, you can get by with a whole lotta stuff. Without the press, you wouldn't know a lot of things that happen behind the walls of government especially. Our founding fathers know that you needed the press because of the government, I'm sure of it.
or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,
Ah, the right to protest. It says peaceably, that does NOT include the use of fire, baseball bats, guns, destroying anything or punching people, it says the people have the right to assemble peaceably.
and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Even without understanding what the word "redress" means, you probably know that it means that you can ask the government to make something right, to make up for a wrong.
So there you have it. Why I love the first amendment. It's the amendment that gives us the whole idea of freedom. Without it, we have nothing. So call me silly, but I really do love that first amendment thing.