Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 146: The First Amendment

Awoke this morning to find a lot of overnight chatter about OccupyWallStreet.

When I first heard of this a few weeks ago, the noise was that the MSM wasn't giving it much attention, and why? I thought it was a legitimate question. Now the media has to pay attention. It's exploded all over the U.S. When I was in Dallas over the weekend I saw the group there assembled in a park near the convention center.

Apparently in the middle of last night police in Boston swooped in and flushed out the protesters. Not only that, they arrested more than 100 (apparently, a lot of them were part of the group Veterans for Peace) and may have beaten some. Reports say they took tents and camping gear and threw them onto trash trucks.

The irony of this happening in Boston should be obvious. There were protesters there a few hundred years ago, too. Some of them were killed by the authorities. Those authorities were eventually overthrown.

I hear about this stuff and I wonder how any thinking person can not be terrified that the country is being taken over by fascists.

The first 10 amendments to the U.S. constitution is commonly known as the Bill of Rights. These amendments are thrown around in political talk all the time, but do people remember exactly what is promised? Probably not. And government has done such a good job of creating dense, impenetrable documents that most would be shocked to remember that the Bill of Rights is a simple, straightforward list. Not a lot of legalese.

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.

As the very first amendment, the founders clearly felt that these rights were inviolable and crucial to a thriving democracy. The first amendment provides for freedom of religion. Anyone (like some politicians on the right) who says that the U.S. was founded as a "Christian nation" is by definition veering into a violation of the first amendment. Government and religion SHOULD NOT MIX. And it's my freedom of speech to feel that way and say so. We're supposed to have a free "press" (I don't know if the word "media" was in the lexicon of the time)... but most of the "press" in this country is now as bought and paid for as the members of the same Congress. They all have an agenda, and often it's as simple as "make more money." But that last one is the one that was violated last night: the right to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. That's what's going on with the Occupy movement. People are tired of being trampled on by banksters, corporatists, the 1 percent. The government hasn't protected us -- they are generally a part of the 1 percent.

If you haven't looked over the constitution in a while, check it out here: http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html#Am1

And practice it as often as you can...

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