Yesterday, 2/24/17, the government itself, specifically the Trump Administration, attacked the First Amendment, which includes our right to freedom of expression, most commonly referred to as freedom of speech, press, religion, assembly, and petition.
So, immediately, that’s a lot of information. Let me break it down for you simply. (Source for this section, here.)
Under the First Amendment, you are given the right to freedom of:
- Expression, AKA Freedom of Speech: “The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government.”
- Possible prohibitions: “speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence”
- Press: The allowance of “an individual to express themselves through publication and dissemination”. (Note: this does fall under freedom of expression.)
- Religion: This is a two-parter: establishment and free exercise.
- Establishment: “The establishment clause prohibits the government from passing legislation to establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. It enforces the “separation of church and state.” (This is important; I’ll be coming back to this in a later post.)”
- Free Exercise: “The free exercise clause prohibits the government, in most instances, from interfering with a person’s practice of their religion.”
- Assembly: “The right to assemble allows people to gather for peaceful and lawful purposes. Implicit within this right is the right to association and belief.”
- Protesting, put simply. (There is a clear difference between protesting and rioting.)
- Also could possibly be interpreted from this is your right to go to church. (While also protected by the Free Exercise clause, this reinforces those protections.)
- Petition: “The right to petition the government for a redress of grievances guarantees people the right to ask the government to provide relief for a wrong through the courts (litigation) or other governmental action.”
- This reinforces the right of assembly.
Okay, so you got all that? It’s very simple. I’ll sum it up for you further:
The First Amendment is where the bulk of your freedoms come from. It is the basic ideology of the United States of America.
There is a reason why it is the First Amendment and not the Second.
The First Amendment gives you your freedoms in America.
The Second Amendment gives you the capabilities to protect those freedoms.
Understand? It’s all really simple. Just go read the last five lines before this one, as many times as you need. It’s very important to understand what your rights are and where they come from. Take your time.
Understand this clearly: without the First Amendment, you do not have any true rights. You have the idea and illusion of rights.
Read those last two sentences again. Read them until you know every word by heart. Read them until you fully understand them. Get them tattooed on your arm if you have to.
Now, do you remember what I opened this with?
Yesterday, 2/24/17, the government itself, specifically the Trump Administration, attacked the First Amendment, (…)
Do you feel that chill in your spine? That sense of impending doom? That terrifying moment that shifts your entire world?
Good. That’s what you should feel.
“They say that we can’t criticize their dishonest coverage because of the First Amendment, you know, they always bring up the First Amendment.”
Those are the words of the Commander-In-Chief himself.
“But he’s not the government or his administration.”
To quote CIC himself and put it simply: Wrong.
The President is the government; he is his administration. He is not just one person any longer; he ceased to be a single person when he took that oath of office on January 20th, 2017. At the moment he said those words, he became an entity, an idea. He became the face of the government itself.
His very words are policy. His actions are government actions. They are actions on behalf of the United States, and it’s citizens.
The world does not consist of only the USA. The entire world is watching us. They are watching the words and actions of our government, and they are scared.
The entire world thinks us a laughingstock, but that does not mean that they are not taking us seriously.
The world knows what we can do, what we have done, and they see what we just did, what we are doing, and they are terrified.
The United States has long since been held in people’s minds as the place to go when you’re in trouble, when you want a better life; this is, in part, due to how we’ve held ourselves in high regard and treated our fellow humans in times of need.
They see us imploding; they see our rights slowly being eroded away.
They see our supposed leader disregarding our Constitution, our laws, our ideology, and they are wondering what will happen in their country.
If we, the supposed “greatest nation on Earth”, has this happening to it, what does that mean for their nations? If we go the way of Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, or any of the other infamous examples of toppled governments, what’s to stop them from following in our lead, as so many countries do on a myriad of issues?
Yes. We should be scared with our rights, our freedoms, being stripped away, but not just for ourselves.
We are standing on a precipice of history, a knife’s edge. How we uphold ourselves, and, indeed, our government, will shape the entire future of the world.
Are you ready?