Arguably, the First Amendment of our Constitution is what gives the United States its character as a country.
It is the basic premise underlying our democratic system, and it is this Amendment, more than any other, that set us apart from similar societies in the late 1700s.
This Amendment, more than any other, created that revolutionary "shot heard round the world" that caused the eventual toppling of various European heads of state and gave full rise to the middle class since it's harder to have royal dictatorships when dissent and freedom of the press is allowed, and citizens learn that they can hold just as much power as those from the aristocracy.
It is this Amendment, more than any other, that should make us all proud to be Americans.
Just to remind you what the First Amendment says, I've included it here:
"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."
So, our rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press and the right to peaceably assemble shall not be changed.
Those are our inalienable rights as American citizens.
Why am I providing a civics lesson on a Friday morning?
I am providing this lesson because several of those rights have been infringed over the past two weeks in preparation for the Republican National Convention. Raids have taken place on homes, arresting folks who were planning on exercising their right to peaceably assemble. Journalists have had their credentials confiscated. Our laws have been broken.
The St. Paul police have been blamed, but it's exceedingly unlikely that a police force in a liberal area would come up with this on their own. Police are there to protect and to serve. Police in our area, at least, have a long history of having to take on distasteful duties in order to protect citizens' rights to peaceably assemble.
To read a bit about what's been going on, I've provided many links below.
So, I ask you, if you consider yourself a patriotic American, does it make sense to align yourself with a party whose current administration has been bound and determined to remove your inalienable rights as Americans, and whose new slate of candidates have pledged to continue in this same direction?
As a proud American, as a lover of the Constitution, I refuse to allow my rights to dissipate in this manner. I plan to keep myself informed between now and the election and to read POLICY on the sites of the candidates, not listen to RHETORIC and attacks. Please, voters, check your candidate's policies. See if you agree with them.
In the meantime, please browse some links below, especially if you think you really, really know your party.
On another note, I'm having a heck of a week - nothing tragic, just way too many tasks for any given hour. As a result, I'm not going to be around as much as I'd like, either in terms of writing here or in terms of commenting. As many of you know, I tend to be fairly loyal with my comments. ;-) I'll be back for real as soon as I can.
From my local paper:
Police target protesters at RNC convention
102 arrested after GOP convention's third night
Massive police raids on suspected protesters in Minneapolis
From the Minneapolis media:
Police raids enrage activists, alarm others
Houses, spaces raided throughout the Twin Cities
Police search homes, seize contraband in advance of RNC
Amy Goodman released but protests against police conduct at Convention continue
From red, green and blue (an environmental blog):
Minneapolis Police Seize “Sustainable Living” Bus - in St. Paul
From the Huffington post:
Police Raid Protester Houses In Advance Of Republican Convention