Our Founders created the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to guarantee the American people certain freedoms, liberties and rights. Over the years, those rights have been trampled, manipulated and at times, grossly misinterpreted.
This series will focus on the first ten amendments and present examples of just how many of our rights have virtually been lost, or upheld, as the odd case may be.
The First Amendment
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.
The Supreme Court has also interpreted the First Amendment as protecting freedom of association.
Ignoring the Supreme Court’s decision, the government is arresting those speaking out … and violently crushing peaceful assemblies which attempt to petition the government for redress.
There are also enacted laws allowing the secret service to arrest anyone protesting near the president or other designated folks.
Mass spying by the NSA violates our freedom of association.
The threat of being labeled a terrorist for exercising our First Amendment rights certainly violates the First Amendment. The government is using laws to crush dissent, and it’s gotten so bad that even U.S. Supreme Court justices are saying that we are descending into tyranny.
The following are a few examples of actions that may get an American citizen living on U.S. soil labeled as a “suspected terrorist” today:
Complaining about the taste of your tap water
Another infringement of the first amendment could be Senate bill 987. If it passes, the government will have the authority to say who is a journalist and who isn’t. Only those deemed worthy as a true journalist will be protected by the first amendment.
The targeting by the IRS of conservative organizations is a violation of their first amendment right to assert their views and opinions on important issues and risks chilling important speech.
We see free speech violated in schools all the time. Shirts with various slogans worn by students, are inevitably an infraction of some obscure dress code.
Next up – The Second Amendment