Attack on Freedom
By: Guest Authors
By: Eric Western
Ronald Reagan warned us in his parting of the dangers of an uninformed patriotism, that national pride “…won’t count for much, and it won’t last unless it’s grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge. ” He spoke that day of his fear that America was not doing enough to teach its children about America and what it means to be American. We listened and we nodded our heads and let the warning pass us by. US History is not taught like it once was. I was never required to memorize the preamble of the Constitution nor any part of the Declaration of Independence. Today was are taught the Constitution should be a living, breathing document that should be capable of change. This is most evident in the recent attacks to the Constitution. A document that spells out our freedoms and protects us from an over powerful central government is being attacked to be morphed into something less.
Recently discussion around Washington has brought up the possibility of reviving the Fairness Doctrine. The Fairness Doctrine required holders of broadcast licenses to present issues in a way that the FCC though was balanced and fair. While I think my education on the Constitution may have been lacking, I am pretty sure I have made up for it with my own study and reading, and I do not remember anywhere it said the press has to present anything fairly. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure this goes against the First Amendment. Don’t get me wrong, the mainstream media could be more balanced and fair, but I am definitely against a law from the government mandating that the press do what a government agency says is fair. Our First Amendment guarantees us press and speech supposedly untainted by government. The fear being that if government could control what the public heard, they could get away with things without the publics knowledge. Our founding fathers put this amendment in the number one spot for a reason, it is vital to ensuring the peoples freedom from an oppressive government. People will first begin to speak out about such a government and display their disagreement. As much as I dislike some of the mainstream media, our media holds the government accountable by informing the people. Information and knowledge are valuable weapons.
Another attack to the Constitution comes in the form of weapons bans. While the Supreme Court has come to the rescue (in a tight 5-4 vote), do not count this issue as being over. We need to take a step back as well and look at the context the argument for weapons bans has been placed in. The debate revolves around the citizens right to protect him or herself from criminals. I believe that this is the wrong way to frame the discussion. The Second Amendment was not added to allow citizens to protect themselves from criminals, but from the government. The Declaration of Independence, capitalizing on the right of revolution, stated: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”
Those early patriots used force to abolish the government over them and create a new, they used the press to spread their message. They provided the citizens of the new country the formed with the tools needed to carry out that same task should need the need ever arise again. Its time we started teaching this again, time to fight the ignorance that has come to rule the day, time to “…do a better job of getting across that America is freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of enterprise. And freedom is special and rare. It’s fragile; it needs protection.”