John W. Whitehead, Visitor
“If the freedom of speech be taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”—George Washington
Dwelling in a consultant republic signifies that every individual has the best to take a stand for what they assume is true, whether or not meaning marching outdoors the halls of presidency, sporting clothes with provocative statements, or just holding up an indication.
That’s what the First Modification is supposed to be about.
But by way of a collection of rigorously crafted legislative steps and politically expedient courtroom rulings, authorities officers have managed to disembowel this elementary freedom, rendering it with little extra which means than the best to file a lawsuit towards authorities officers.
Within the course of, authorities officers have succeeded in insulating themselves from their constituents, making it more and more troublesome for common People to make themselves seen or heard by those that most want to hear what “we the people” have to say.
Certainly, President Trump—all the time eager to train his free speech rights to pontificate freely on any matter that strikes his fancy—has not been as keen to shield the First Modification rights of his fellow residents to converse freely, assemble, protest and petition one’s authorities officers for a redress of grievances.
Not that way back, in truth, Trump instructed that the act of protesting must be unlawful.
The president has additionally steered demonstrators ought to lose their jobs or be met with violence for talking out.
Thoughts you, that is the person who took an oath of workplace to uphold and defend the Structure.
Maybe somebody ought to have made positive Trump had truly learn the Structure first.
Most just lately, the Trump Administration proposed guidelines that may crack down on protests in entrance of the White Home and on the Nationwide Mall.
In accordance to the Philadelphia Inquirer, “The rules would restrict gatherings that now take place on a 25-foot-wide sidewalk in front of the White House to just a 5-foot sliver, severely limiting crowds. The NPS [National Park Service] also threatens to hit political protesters on the National Mall with large security and cleanup fees that historically have been waived for such gatherings, and it wants to make it easier to reject a spontaneous protest of the type that might occur, say, if Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller.”
Think about if the tons of of hundreds of individuals within the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which culminated with Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on the Lincoln Memorial, had been pressured into free speech zones or required to pay for the “privilege” of protest.
There doubtless wouldn’t have been a 1964 Civil Rights Act.
What’s going on right here?
Clearly, the federal government has little interest in listening to what “we the people” have to say.
It’s the message that’s feared, particularly if that message challenges the established order.
That’s why so many hurdles are being positioned within the path of these trying to voice sentiments that could be construed as unpopular, offensive, conspiratorial, violent, threatening or anti-government.
But the suitable of political free speech is the idea of all liberty.
It’s the citizen’s proper to confront the federal government and demand that it alter its insurance policies. However first, residents have to be seen and heard, and solely underneath extraordinary circumstances ought to free speech ever be restricted.
No authorities that claims to worth freedom would undertake such draconian measures to clamp down on lawful First Modification actions. These techniques of censorship, suppression and oppression go hand-in-hand with fascism.
Efforts to confine and management dissenters are actually efforts to confine and management the impact of their messages, no matter these may be.
That’s the purpose, isn’t it?
The powers-that-be don’t need us to be seen and heard.
Haven’t you observed that interactions with elected representatives have grow to be more and more manufactured and distant over the previous 50 years? Press conferences, ticketed luncheons, televised speeches and one-sided city corridor conferences held over the telephone now largely take the place of face-to-face interplay with constituents.
Moreover, there was an elevated use of so-called “free speech zones,” designated areas for expressive exercise used to corral and block protestors at political occasions from interacting with public officers. Each the Democratic and Republican events have used these “free speech zones,” some situated inside chain-link cages, at numerous conventions to mute any and all criticism of their insurance policies.
This push to insulate authorities officers from these exercising their First Modification rights stems from an elitist mindset which views them as totally different, set aside by some means, from the individuals they’ve been appointed to serve and symbolize.
We’ve litigated and legislated our approach into a brand new governmental framework the place the dictates of petty bureaucrats carry higher weight than the inalienable rights of the citizenry.
With each passing day, we’re being moved additional down the street in the direction of a totalitarian society characterised by authorities censorship, violence, corruption, hypocrisy and intolerance, all packaged for our supposed profit within the Orwellian doublespeak of nationwide safety, tolerance and so-called “government speech.”
Certainly, whereas lobbyists mill out and in of the houses and workplaces of Congressmen, the American individuals are stored at a distance by means of free speech zones, digital city corridor conferences, and safety limitations. And people who dare to breach the hole—even by means of silent types of protest—are arrested for making their voices heard.
On paper, we’re free to converse.
In actuality, nevertheless, we’re solely as free to converse as a authorities official might permit.
Free speech zones, bubble zones, trespass zones, anti-bullying laws, zero tolerance insurance policies, hate crime legal guidelines and a number of different legalistic maladies dreamed up by politicians and prosecutors have conspired to corrode our core freedoms.
Certainly, the Supreme Courtroom has had the effrontery to recommend that the federal government can discriminate freely towards First Modification exercise that takes place inside a authorities discussion board, justifying such discrimination as “government speech.”
If it have been simply the courts suppressing free speech, that might be one factor to fear about, however First Modification actions are being pummeled, punched, kicked, choked, chained and usually gagged all throughout the nation.
Protest legal guidelines are usually not about defending the financial system or personal property or public sidewalks. Somewhat, they’re meant to hold us corralled, muzzle discontent and discourage anybody from difficult authorities authority.
The explanations for such censorship differ extensively, however the finish outcome stays the identical: the entire eradication of what Benjamin Franklin referred to because the “principal pillar of a free government.”
If People are usually not in a position to peacefully assemble for expressive exercise outdoors of the halls of presidency or on public roads on which authorities officers should move, the First Modification has misplaced all which means.
If we can’t stand silently outdoors of the Supreme Courtroom or the Capitol or the White Home, our capacity to maintain the federal government accountable for its actions is threatened, and so are the rights and liberties which we cherish as People.
Free speech can definitely not be thought-about “free” when expressive actions throughout the nation are being more and more restricted, restricted to so-called free speech zones, or altogether blocked.
If residents can’t stand out within the open on a public sidewalk and voice their disapproval of their authorities, its representatives and its insurance policies, with out fearing prosecution, then the First Modification with all its strong protections without spending a dime speech, meeting and the correct to petition one’s authorities for a redress of grievances is little greater than window-dressing on a retailer window: fairly to take a look at however serving little actual objective.
What most individuals fail to perceive is that the First Modification is just not solely concerning the citizenry’s proper to freely categorical themselves. Relatively, the First Modification speaks to the citizenry’s proper to categorical their considerations about their authorities to their authorities, in a time, place and method greatest suited to making certain that these considerations are heard.
The First Modification provides each American the fitting to “petition his government for a redress of grievances.”
This quantities to a lot greater than submitting a lawsuit towards the federal government. It really works hand in hand with free speech to guarantee, as Adam Newton and Ronald Okay.L. Collins report for the 5 Freedoms Venture, “that our leaders hear, even if they don’t listen to, the electorate. Though public officials may be indifferent, contrary, or silent participants in democratic discourse, at least the First Amendment commands their audience.”
As Newton and Collins elaborate:
“Petitioning” has come to signify any nonviolent, authorized technique of encouraging or disapproving authorities motion, whether or not directed to the judicial, government or legislative department. Lobbying, letter-writing, e-mail campaigns, testifying earlier than tribunals, submitting lawsuits, supporting referenda, amassing signatures for poll initiatives, peaceable protests and picketing: all public articulation of points, complaints and pursuits designed to spur authorities motion qualifies beneath the petition clause, even when the actions partake of different First Modification freedoms.
Much more important than the proper to converse freely, or pray freely, or assemble freely, or petition the federal government for a redress of grievances, or have a free press is the unstated freedom enshrined within the First Modification that assures us of the suitable to assume freely and brazenly debate points with out being muzzled or handled like a legal.
Simply as surveillance has been proven to “stifle and smother dissent, keeping a populace cowed by fear,” authorities censorship provides rise to self-censorship, breeds compliance and makes unbiased thought all however unimaginable.
In the long run, censorship and political correctness not solely produce individuals that can’t converse for themselves but in addition individuals who can’t assume for themselves. And a citizenry that may’t assume for itself is a citizenry that may neither insurgent towards the federal government’s dictates nor revolt towards the federal government’s tyranny.
The top outcome: a nation of sheep who willingly line up for the slaughterhouse.
Nonetheless, as Supreme Courtroom Justice William O. Douglas suggested in his dissent in Colten v. Kentucky, “we need not stay docile and quiet” within the face of authority.
The Structure doesn’t require People to be servile and even civil to authorities officers.
Neither does the Structure require obedience (though it does insist on nonviolence).
If we simply cower earlier than authorities brokers and meekly obey, we might discover ourselves following within the footsteps of these nations that ultimately fell to tyranny.
The choice includes standing up and talking fact to energy.
Jesus Christ walked that street.
So did Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and numerous different freedom fighters whose actions modified the course of historical past.
Certainly, had Christ merely complied with the Roman police state, there would have been no crucifixion and no Christian faith.
Had Gandhi meekly fallen according to the British Empire’s dictates, the Indian individuals would by no means have gained their independence.
Had Martin Luther King Jr. obeyed the legal guidelines of his day, there would have been no civil rights motion.
And if the founding fathers had marched in lockstep with royal decrees, there would have been no American Revolution.
In different phrases, if freedom means something, it signifies that these exercising their proper to protest are displaying the best respect for the rules on which this nation was based: the fitting to free speech and the fitting to dissent.
Clearly, the First Modification to the Structure assures People of the appropriate to converse freely, assemble freely and protest (petition the federal government for a redress of grievances).
Whether or not these First Modification actions happen in a courtroom or a classroom, on a soccer area or in entrance of the White Home is just not the difficulty. What issues is that People have a proper—in accordance to the spirit, if not all the time the letter, of the regulation—to voice their considerations with out being penalized for it.
Frankly, the First Modification does greater than give us a proper to criticize our nation: it makes it a civic obligation.
Let’s not confuse patriotism (love for or devotion to one’s nation) with blind obedience to the federal government’s dictates. That is step one in the direction of creating an authoritarian regime.
One may be patriotic and love one’s nation whereas on the similar time disagreeing with the federal government or protesting authorities misconduct. As journalist Barbara Ehrenreich acknowledges, “Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.”
Certainly, I might enterprise to say that should you’re not talking out or taking a stand towards authorities wrongdoing—in the event you’re marching in lockstep with every thing the federal government and its brokers dole out—and when you’re prioritizing partisan politics over the rules enshrined within the Structure, then you definitely’re not a real patriot.
Actual patriots care sufficient to take a stand, converse out, protest and problem the federal government each time it steps out of line. There’s nothing patriotic concerning the lengths to which People have allowed the federal government to go in its efforts to dismantle our constitutional republic and shift the nation right into a police state.
It’s not anti-American to be anti-war or anti-police misconduct or anti-racial discrimination, nevertheless it is anti-American to be anti-freedom.
Pay attention: I served within the Military.
I lived by means of the Civil Rights period.
I got here of age through the Sixties, when activists took to the streets to protest conflict and financial and racial injustice.
As a constitutional lawyer, I defend individuals every day whose civil liberties are being violated, together with highschool college students prohibited from sporting American flag t-shirts to faculty, allegedly out of a worry that it may be disruptive.
I perceive the worth that have to be paid for freedom.
Accountable citizenship means being outraged on the lack of others’ freedoms, even when our personal aren’t immediately threatened.
The Framers of the Structure knew very nicely that each time and wherever democratic governments had failed, it was as a result of the individuals had abdicated their duty as guardians of freedom. Additionally they knew that each time in historical past the individuals denied this duty, an authoritarian regime arose which ultimately denied the individuals the correct to govern themselves.
Residents have to be prepared to stand and struggle to shield their freedoms. And if want be, it can entail publicly criticizing the federal government.
That is true patriotism in motion.
By no means in American historical past has there been a extra urgent want to keep the obstacles within the Structure erected by our Founders to examine governmental energy and abuse.
Not solely can we not have dominion over our our bodies, our households, our property and our lives, however the authorities continues to chip away at what few rights we nonetheless have to converse freely and assume for ourselves.
If the federal government can management speech, it may well management thought and, in flip, it may possibly management the minds of the citizenry.
My pals, allow us to not be performed for fools.
The federal government’s ongoing makes an attempt to suppress lawful protest actions are meant to ship a robust message that within the American police state, you’re both a patriot who marches in lockstep with the federal government’s dictates otherwise you’re a pariah, a suspect, a legal, a troublemaker, a terrorist, a radical, a revolutionary.
But by muzzling the citizenry, by eradicating the constitutional steam valves that permit individuals to converse their minds, air their grievances and contribute to a bigger dialogue that hopefully leads to a extra simply world, the federal government is intentionally stirring the pot, making a local weather during which violence turns into inevitable.
When there isn’t a steam valve—when there isn’t any one to hear what the individuals have to say, as a result of authorities representatives have eliminated themselves so removed from their constituents—then frustration builds, anger grows and other people develop into extra risky and determined to pressure a dialog.
Then once more, maybe that was the federal government’s plan all alongside.
As John F. Kennedy warned in March 1962, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
The federal government is making violent revolution inevitable.
How do you lock down a nation?
You sow discontent and worry among the many populace.
You train them to be non-thinkers who passively settle for no matter is informed them, whether or not it’s delivered by approach of the company media or a authorities handler.
You brainwash them into believing that every part the federal government does is for his or her good and anybody who opposes the federal government is an enemy.
You acclimate them to a state of martial regulation, carried out by troopers disguised as cops however bearing the weapons of struggle.
You polarize them in order that they will by no means unite and stand united towards the federal government.
You create a local weather during which silence is golden and people who converse up are shouted down.
You unfold propaganda and lies.
You package deal the police state within the rhetoric of politicians.
After which, when and if the individuals lastly get up to the truth that the federal government shouldn’t be and has by no means been their good friend, when it’s too late for peaceable protests and violence is all that is still to them as a recourse towards tyranny, you employ all the instruments you’ve been so rigorously amassing—the militarized police, the legal databases and surveillance and identification methods and personal prisons and protest legal guidelines—and also you shut them down for good.
Divide and conquer.
It’s one of many oldest army methods within the books, and it’s confirmed to be the police state’s only weapon for sustaining the established order.
How do you conquer a nation?
Distract the populace with display units, with sports activities, leisure spectacles, political circuses and materialism.
Hold them targeted on their variations—financial, spiritual, environmental, political, racial—to allow them to by no means agree on something.
After which, once they’re so divided that they’re incapable of becoming a member of forces towards a standard menace, begin choosing them off one by one.
As I clarify in my guide Battlefield America: The Conflict on the American Individuals, what we’re witnessing is simply the newest incarnation of the federal government’s battle plan for stamping out any sparks of resistance and holding the populace underneath management: censorship, surveillance, battlefield techniques, army weaponry, and an entire suspension of the Structure.
Concerning the Writer
Constitutional lawyer and writer John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute, the place this text (You Want to Make America Great Again? Start by Making America Free Again) was initially revealed. He’s the writer of A Authorities of Wolves: The Rising American Police State and The Change Manifesto.
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You Want to Make America Great Again? Start by Making America Free Again was final modified: October 15th, 2018 by WakingTimes
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