Hold these truths

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.

First Amendment to U.S. Constitution

Given the impunity with which these prohibitions have been ignored in the last 20 to 100 years, I think it’s safe to say most every “duly elected” official we know ought to be removed for violating the oath to defend the Constitution, but just assuming for a second this is still the supreme law of the land, let’s make an observation or several.

  • The author(s) of this amendment wrote, first, belief in a higher power and how you peaceably practice that belief is none of the gummint’s damn business.
  • The gummint can’t tell anyone to shut up their mouths, no matter if anyone is talking balderdash, perceived balderdash, or even hate.
  • The gummint can’t regulate what anyone publishes — and ohbytheway, this applies to stuff that isn’t published on paper since the definition of “press” has evolved to include publishers of stuff on radio waves, TV signals, digital means and all sorts of once-unimaginable conveyances.
  • There are no “unlesses” in this amendment. It just refers to the right peaceably to assemble, for example, and doesn’t limit that right by race, creed, sex, age, or say, if there’s a virus afoot on the land. Anyone who said gummint has the right to shut down coffeehouses, theaters, or even stadiums just doesn’t know how to read.
  • I haven’t seen any attempt to deny people’s right to petition the gummint for a redress of grievances. I just haven’t seen the gummint paying any no mind to people’s rights or grievances.
  • Corporations that receive special favors from the gummint are de facto extensions of said gummint. Therefore, when, for example, a social media corporation shuts down free speech, it too is violating the First Amendment. It lost its “private entity and therefore entitled to its own rules” status when it got in bed with “public entities.”
  • I have no illusion that the rights supposedly protected under the First Amendment are being protected at all, or that by stating this fact the gummint or its “private sector partners” will change anything they’re up to. I just want to remind people — or inform them if they were unaware:

The First Amendment, like the following nine amendments, does not create these rights. It simply forbids the abridgment of these pre-existing rights.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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