Our First Amendment is under attack

By Bill Reynolds

In the Sept. 26 issue of this paper, Bernard Kuhn gives voice to a complaint that the Sentinel is giving Darrell Beck too much “face” time. Mr. Kuhn should rejoice that Mr. Beck is still allowed to voice his opinion at all given that it runs contrary to what our folks in power and those who put them there believe.

Or is it only liberals that have the rights to free speech and outrage? I am beginning to think so, as the First Amendment is under attack on more than one front. Witness the new Media Shield Law that the Senate Judiciary Committee recently passed and will now ask the Senate to vote on.

At first glance it sounds like a good thing, but dig deeper. It will only apply to “covered journalists.” Just who gets to decide what a covered journalist is? CONgress. And do you think that they will give anyone who decides to print something contrary blanket protection, especially if they fall into the whistle-blower category? Get realistic.

This is only the latest of many attacks. Do you have the right to assemble in protest? Sure you do, as long as you get a permit from the government and stand several blocks away from the event or person you are protesting. Stand up in meetings to make your voice heard — and get led out or in worst case arrested if it is contrary to what is being preached.

Hand out pamphlets on a public sidewalk? Not without an approved permit you don’t. Folks are getting arrested for that, too. Thomas Paine would be astounded as to what is going on in our country. All of these things have happened in the recent past and are becoming more numerous.

So who gets to be authorized? Newspaper reporters for town, college, national rags? Major network TV commentators and personalities? I suppose that as long as they do not stray too far from the official narrative, they are the most likely to be approved. How about bloggers and the electronic media? Guys like Matt Drudge. Do you think that those in power approve of him? There are many others out there, too, like Mike Vanderbough and David Codrea who broke the story on the Project Gunwalker scandal. What are the chances they’ll be covered?

The answer is they already are. It’s called the First Amendment and it is not broken and does not need to be fixed. It is merely being ignored and stepped on. CONgress will be wrong and in contempt of the Constitution if they attempt to pass this. The First Amendment clearly states: “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.” I see nothing in there about approved media. What could be plainer than that?

The part missing is the one about religion, but that’s another argument.

Mr. Kuhn objects to Beck’s treatment of Obamacare that “so many people need and want.” Has anyone asked the folks who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut due to the Medical Device Tax, Medicare Payment Cuts, the Employer Mandate, all of which are provisions within Obamacare if THEY want it? I don’t know about you, but my insurance rates have gone up because of the uncertainty of it. Who’s going to pay for this if everyone is out of work? What happens when everyone is in the cart and there is no one left to push it? As the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher so succinctly put it, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

There are other ways to help people with medical costs and fix a few problems without ruining one of the finest medical systems in the world. How about tort reform or being able to buy insurance across state lines, opening up the insurance market for competition? As far as O-care being introduced by our duly elected reprehensibles…..uh, representatives, I didn’t vote for mine so he could approve the bill to read what’s in it. Would you sign a contract without reading it?

Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Kuhn. The government that can give you everything you want can also take everything you have.

As for majority rule, it really doesn’t really matter, does it, unless it also “fits the narrative.” Most visibly on the horizon was California’s Prop. 8. Personally I am ambivalent to the issue, but the majority of Californians passed it only to have it overturned in the courts. Tell me again how majority rule works.

True, the paper can publish (for now) what it wants, which you, Mr. Kuhn, seem to object to as it relates to Mr. Beck. You say that you are a friend of his, yet you send in a letter complaining about his exercise of his First Amendment rights and the paper publishing them too often. Be glad you still can. Mr. Kuhn, I don’t know how well you know Mr. Beck, but if you were MY friend and did this to me, I would have to re-classify you as a FINO. That would be Friend In Name Only.

I don’t personally know Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Beck or anyone at the paper. My issue is with anyone trying to abridge our freedom of speech, press and any other liberties granted by God — natural law if you prefer — and guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

Bill Reynolds is a Ramona resident.

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Oct 11 2013. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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