Wednesday, June 18, 2008

First Amendment

First Amendment


I find the fact that the mayor of the capital city of the state whose nickname is "The Constitution State" does not believe the constitution applies to him ironic.

The first amendment of the constitution of the United States of America gives Americans the Right of freedom of religion, free speech, free press, the right to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. Nowhere in the amendment are the words 'privilege or permission'.

Nowhere in this amendment does it say that a person's speech or what is published in the press is allowed as long as it does not offend, upset, insult. If that were the case it would not be free speech or a free press. When I was in high school we were taught that while all the amendments are important this one was first because without free speech and a free press to report it who would know anything. I remember more than one teacher saying words to the effect 'no matter how abhorrent what you say is to me I will defend your right to say it. Because if they stop you from saying that what will they stop me from saying'. A few other sayings from that era that you rarely hear anymore "stick and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me unless I let them" "I will ignore that derogatory remark after considering the source". We grew up learning that not everyone liked us and that was OK because they were allowed to say it so we knew where we stood.

I feel it would do people good to remember that if it was not for free speech and the freedom of the press , , women and minorities might not have right to vote, desegregation might not have taken place possibly slavery may not have been abolished along with many other social changes that have made this a better country. Before you reject this out of hand consider that Mayor Perez represents the government and he doesn't want people to say certain things and he is trying to use the power of the government to stop them. If it was not for the first amendment he could do so. Do you think that all the people in the government or in the country wanted women and minorities to have the vote, or were in favor of desegregation? I don't and if it wasn't for the first amendment the government in power would not have allowed people to speak about it or the press to report and we would still be where we were 100 years ago.

A fact that I find overlooked constantly by people who want to prohibit what people say now by calling it racist, bigoted a hate crime, calling for people to be arrested or lose their jobs or reputations for using a racial, ethnic or gender slur remember right now the pendulum is swinging your way but is doing just that swinging. It will go back the other way and what will you do when you are not allowed to speak up. By not allowing people to speak freely even if it is insulting or upsetting you are not solving a problem, rather you are putting a lid on a pressure cooker. For me personally I would prefer that if someone did not like me because of my, race, gender, ethnic background or religion they would say it out loud. Then I would know where I stand. Also if the person was intelligent it might open lines of communication that could become mutual respect or more. However do to laws put into place by do-gooders racism has not been eliminated but rather driven underground where I fear it is growing like mold that will destroy this country.

Mayor Perez and his supporters who feel it is their job now that they are in government to decide what can and should be said might do well to consider the fact that all dictatorships, communist and most socialist governments feel the same.

Kudos to the media who keep the free press free.

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