Will 2nd Amendment expression replace the 1st Amendment?
By Carole McWilliams
Almost two months into the Trumpocalypse, things aren't looking real good for the First Amendment.
Part of that is freedom of the press.
Reminiscent of various dictators, our so-called president has declared the fact-based media to be the enemy of the people. No, the fact-based media is his enemy as a serial liar. He has declared that any news reports that he doesn't like are "fake news," and the nice news media are his propaganda shills.
Facts that he doesn't like disappear off federal web sites. Agencies are told not to collect data that he might not like. As in climate change, release of toxic chemicals, or the number of people who will lose health insurance if Republicans have their way.
Our Founding Fathers understood that well-informed citizens are essential for our representative democracy to work. That's what's at stake here.
Then there's freedom of speech. If the press can be muzzled and data controlled, that could be next.
Freedom of religion is threatened not by congress (I hope), but by the rise of hate incidents against Jewish and Muslim houses of worship, community centers, and cemeteries, and attacks on individuals.
Two dark-skinned men here legally from India were shot last month in Olathe, Kansas by a man who reportedly screamed "Get out of my country," and one died. More recently a Sikh man was shot in Washington state after the shooter yelled at him to go back where he came from. Were these attacks because the victims looked Muslim, or just because they looked "foreign"?
Hate incidents started increasing during Himself's candidacy. In characteristic fashion, he denies any responsibility for what he's stirred up. We're obviously on our way to being great again.
The real threat could be to freedom to assemble peaceably and petition the government for redress of grievances.
Petitioning our elected Republican representatives for redress of grievances hasn't gone well this year. Citizens have deluged them with phone calls, letters, and e-mails opposing Himself's awful cabinet nominees. They were all ignored by rubber stamp Republican senators.
Not surprisingly, Republican members of congress have been confronted by hostile crowds at town hall meetings, even in areas that voted for Himself.
Our own worthies, U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton and Sen. Cory Gardner, apparently are afraid to hear in person from their constituents. They've held some minimally publicized token telephone town hall meetings. Not acceptable!
With conventional channels now ineffective to seek redress of grievances, we are left with traditional protest marches or civil disobedience.
In response, freedom-loving legislators in several states are pushing laws that would make protest organizers criminally liable if anything bad happens during a demonstration or protest march. Sounds like a green light for the interests being protested against to send in thugs to torch cars and break shop windows.
Some of these laws would even make it legal to run over protesters blocking a road.
There's the saying that "When peaceful change is made impossible, violent change becomes inevitable."
So maybe the sacred Second Amendment will become our means of expression?