Posted on August 2nd, 2013 No comments
You may have seen a bumper sticker that says in bold, red, white and blue letters: “Free Speech Isn’t Free.” This short quote cleverly refers to is the fact that millions of courageous U.S. soldiers over more than two centuries have died, that is, paid with their lives, to protect this inalienable right. The analogy works, so long as you value free speech and understand the history of America.
Dozens of foreign countries, most notably China, Iran and most Islamist-rule nations have a strict policy prohibiting speech and even ideas opposing the government, its leaders, policies or practices. Just glance for a moment at a few of the Chinese dissidents (paying close attention to how long some of them have been detained) if you need a little help imagining what it might be like living under an oppressive regime lacking first-amendment-type protections.
Practically anyone who’s made it past the 10th grade should be able to recall that the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees each citizen’s right to free speech, but how many of us actually exercise it today?
The full text of the amendment protects more than just speech, but here are the specific parts that apply to free speech:
Congress shall make no law … 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.
Clearly, Congress hasn’t passed any law abridging free speech. However, under the soft tyranny of the Obama administration, free speech is just one of many rights being slowly and methodically stripped away from We The People.
In a recent speech on the House floor, Congressman Jim Bridenstein, gives us a succinct summary of current events:
“The President’s Attorney General authorized spying on a Fox News journalist, and his family, for reporting on a North Korean nuclear test. The President’s Justice Department confiscated phone records of the Associated Press because they reported on a thwarted terrorist attack. The President’s Treasury Department uses the IRS to target political opposition.”
This doesn’t sound very American, does it? How about another example: who can forget the infamous YouTube video, which Obama himself, Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice all claimed in their worldwide “explanation” tour, was to blame for violence that led to the deaths of four brave Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, in Benghazi, Libya?
Even though most of us now believe that the video had nothing to do with the attack in Benghazi, the filmmaker who produced it, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, remains jailed today. Sure, he wrote some bad checks and violated his parole, but many pundits argue that Nakoula is the Benghazi Patsy, and wouldn’t be in jail today if he hadn’t made the video.
Are we free to upload original videos to YouTube or aren’t we? Doesn’t the first amendment protect Nakoula, along with Fox’s James Rosen and all those AP reporters trying to get their stories published? More importantly, shouldn’t our President be defending these patriots’ voices, instead of trying to squelch them?
These stories sound more like they originated in Iran or China than most folks would like to admit, but it’s clear to anyone paying attention to conservative news outlets that the bureaucrats in power are now using federal agencies – when and how they please – against American citizens; actions that are largely unprecedented in modern American political times.
Should we speak out if we disagree with our government? Many of us are afraid to be accused of offensive ideas, or placing our families or employees in a position to be audited.
In his famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech in 1775, Patrick Henry asked, and then answered, this very question:
“Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense? I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.”
It’s interesting to note Henry’s comment about earthly kings. In many ways, it can be argued that President Obama has crowned himself King of America, and many conservatives point out that his actions amount to thumbing his nose at the Constitution, instead of protecting and upholding it, as his oath of office requires.
As we watch these elected officials in D.C. trample our Constitution and run roughshod over the Bill of Rights, keep in mind that you have a duty to yourself, to your family, to your neighbors and to all the soldiers who have died before us. Exercise your first amendment right to call out these leaders, whether they be local, state or federal officials, when, in violation of their oaths, their actions don’t hold true to the America our founding fathers imagined.