The war on free speech

There is a war going on in our country. It’s not a shooting war – yet. But it is becoming more violent every day. Besides the crowd that overran the Capitol building on Jan. 6, last year communities across the country experienced mob violence that bordered on insurrection.

The problem is unless we begin to address the complaints that are growing increasingly divisive the path to civil war is likely to grow.

Both sides are contributing to this problem. There are no clean hands here.

The political parties continue to fan the flames with often irrelevant personal attacks on the character of their opponents, while excusing the same bad behaviors in their own ranks.

The Media frames every story in racial overtones continuing to spread the myth that America is a racist country. It is just lazy journalism. Left unable to answer the why question reporters fall back on racism every time.

I remember well the I have a Dream Speech by Martin Luther King. King said he dreamed of a country where a person was measured by the content of their character not the color of their skin. King was right, but the race baiters cannot resist the opportunity to diminish their opposition by calling them racist. Today I cannot remember a day that goes by where every news story doesn’t begin with some attempt to characterize those involved by the color of their skin.

Yes, there are racists in this country. There are people who believe they are superior to others. People who believe they are smarter than everyone else. But to describe every white person as a privileged white person and every black person as a victim of our privileged white society is just plain wrong.

There are also people in our country who cannot support themselves. They do need some type of help.

Our government has been waging a “War on Poverty” since 1964 - almost 60 years ago. Can we truly say we have had any substantive impact on eliminating poverty?

Our government is the best in the world, but it is beginning to tear us all apart. The biggest problem is we have lost our ability to listen to each other. The legacy media, social media, and our own government leaders are working hard to eliminate any voices that do not agree with their own. 

We must learn to listen to those challenging voices without demonizing them. It is one of our most important American values.

Our founding fathers set out to build a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.” That means our government leaders must listen to us, respect us and work to represent us.

An amazing thing happened in Olympia this week. The Senate voted unanimously (46-0) to support Anti-SLAPP legislation. SLAPP is an acronym for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. The purpose of the act is to protect Media outlets and people like Tim Eyman against lawsuits designed to silence them. It is now moved to the House of Representatives.

Politicians and activists whose only contribution to the debate is to call for censure or character assassination of their opponents must be called to account. They are not improving our collective lives or honoring the traditions that made this the best country on the planet.

If their ideas had merit, they could make their case with reason. They do not need to silence their opposition. They need to prove their point.

Given the toxic environment for different voices there are some things we can do to avoid more violent protests or outright civil war.

Our founding fathers were smart enough to know that historically great Democracies failed. So they incorporated a way for citizens to take back power from the government if it should ever begin to disregard the Constitution. Article V provides for a Convention of States to be called to reign in the power of the Federal Government. It takes 34 state legislatures to vote to call a convention of states. Once called each state gets one vote on the issues the Convention of States votes as amendments to the U.S. Constitution. For example, if the Convention of States votes to limit the terms of Federally elected officials then term limits are imposed. Congress does not get to vote. Eighteen states have already passed a call for a Convention of States. Seventeen more are considering it. It takes 34 states to call the convention. If you want to know more you can find information at: https://conventionofstates.com/

 

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