Posts Tagged ‘freedom of speach’

 

 

 

America had the seeds of democracy planted two hundred and forty-one years ago.  Following the penning of the Declaration of Independence the Constitution of the United states was written.  It was not until 1788 that the document we know as the Constitution was ratified.  Three years later in 1791 the Constitution was amended with ten constitutional amendments that are referred to as the Bill of Rights.  These amendments have now expanded to consist of twenty-seven amendments.

 

The first amendment is one of the most far reaching and impacting pieces of legislation that has ever been produced in the history of man.  This small set of words has the influence to guarantee freedoms to the citizens of our great nation and these freedoms originate as part of the Constitution of the United States.  This is a remarkable development in democracy that had never been attempted before.  This amendment, the First Amendment, prohibits Congress from obstructing the exercise of certain individual freedoms: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the right to petition.

 

The Congress of the United States made it certain that freedom of speech is not to be curtailed by the government.  It is written that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.”   As much as freedom of speech and the right to descent is a right given to the citizens of the United States there are limits that must be maintained to insure equal justice.  When a person is invited to speak at a public forum this person is allowed by the constitution to address those that attend the speech.  Today many attend the speech and instead of allowing the speaker to address the mass the speaker is jeered and in many cases forced to leave the podium.  The rowdy thugs that disrupt speeches and gatherings wrap themselves in the Constitution and proclaim they have freedom of speech and they are within their rights to disrupt someone else’s freedoms of speech.

 

Just as indignant as the disruption of speeches is, the contempt displayed to elected federal officials is even more saddening.  These men and women who represent their districts in Washington go home to hold town hall meetings and hear from the citizens of the area they represent. Instead of constructive civil discussion and a trade of ideas, the elected officials are met with childish outbreaks and immature behavior from members in the crowd.  There is nothing constructive in the dialogue and those who came to the town hall to hear what is happening in the nation’s capital are denied the opportunity due to the unruly behavior of a few.

 

So when does freedom of speech and the right to decent go too far and treads on the right of others.  Anytime that a person is not allowed to give his point of view because it contradicts another person’s thoughts, values or beliefs; the person stopping the speaker is wrong.  There is not debate to this, there Is no negotiating the issue; the person interrupting and disrupting is wrong, end of story!

 

What is causing this type of behavior.  The answer is simple.  Lack of respect for an orderly society causes a breakdown in the moral fiber of a great nation.  Respect is a learned behavior and one that has been lost over the last several decades.  Doing right, learning respect and developing into a mature individual begins at home and is reinforced in our education systems.  Our children are the future of our nation.  It is important that they receive the understanding of human values from the time they take their first breaths and continue with this home education until they leave the nest.  Discipline must be allowed and encouraged in our education institutions.  Today  a child cannot receive corporal punishment at school.  Too bad; if a child is unruly and all else has failed; the use of the paddle has an intended meaning.  As a person that received his share of smacks on the rump, it definitely made an impression on my outlook on life without causing hostile tendencies.  In the past this was supported at home.  If a child was disciplined at school the student could expect to receive the same thing upon arriving at the home.  That is reinforcement for what is right and also reinforcement of our school systems.

 

Let us hope that we can become more respectful for our elected officials and each other.  If not then we will experience a wider void within our country that will threaten to eventually tear the country apart.

 

 

We are at a crossroads in our country and the future of a great nation as it once was is hanging in the balance.  A national fervor that wants change to a status quoi is exploding across our great nation.  This fervor, however, is not one sided and there are two views that are polar opposites.  As time goes by the pitch of the two sides is becoming louder and the rhetoric is becoming even more hostile and threatens to break apart a great nation.  This week two examples of what is wrong with our nation surfaced.  These examples give vision to why the country is screaming for change to our nation.

Several weeks ago Anthony Scalia died suddenly.  It was quick, unexpected and filled a void in the highest court of the nation, The Supreme Court of the United States.  (SCOTUS)  The Constitution of the United States states that the president  “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Judges of the Supreme Court.”  There is no time frame allocated to this and there are no restrictions applied to this either.  Before 1981 the approval process was swift.  It appears that earlier governments in congress and the White House understood the importance of keeping the Supreme Court filled and attempted to be more neutral in political assignments than today.  During the Truman through the Nixon administrations the selection and appointment process to place a new judge into a Supreme Court position was less than one month.  Since that time the appointment process has taken on political tones as advocacy groups and lobbyist attempt to influence lawmakers that vote to approve the new justice.  The approval cycle now takes an average of 2.2 months.

The President of the United States (POTUS) has stated that according to the Constitution he will submit to congress his nomination for the Supreme Court.  The Republican leaders in congress have stated that they will not interview the nominee and the appointment should take place after the new president is in place next year.  This is an abomination and discloses exactly what is wrong with our nation at the federal level and underscores what is driving our nation to vote out anyone that is a part of the establishment.  There is no reason to delay the selection of a Supreme Court Judge for ten months other than political preference.    A delay of this magnitude is an embarrassment to the ideals that were first envisioned to the writers of our great Constitution.

The second action that discloses a crack in our nation is also a smack in the face of our Constitution.  This is the freedom of speech.  So important to the writers of the constitution of the United States, Freedom of Speech is guaranteed in the First Amendment of this great document.

Over the last couple of weeks we have seen political rallies for presidential candidates.  One candidate has not only attracted a large following at his speeches but he has also attracted demonstrators.  The demonstrators have the right to speak.  What they don’t have is the right to disrupt the speaker and cause chaos at a particular event.  This, again, highlights what is wrong with our country.  A protester has a right of free speech but not to the extent that they prevent a speaker at a rally from delivering his message even if the protester proclaims their own freedom of speech.  The divide in the country is widening as one group believes it is their moral right to be able to be able to disturb a candidate’s speech because the protest group doesn’t like the message being delivered.

Unfortunately, the next leader of our nation has his or her hands full.  Healing is going to be of paramount importance as the normal day to day activities of running the greatest nation in the history of the world must also be accomplished.  It is also going to take more than leadership.  It is going to take a conscious decision by the population of our great nation to understand that we must make sacrifices and place the good of the country ahead of petty individual causes.