The United States of America is in a Constitutional Crisis. No, (for once) this is not about guns – It is about something even more vital to the survival of our Republic:
We need to have a real discussion about the First Amendment. There seems to be a significant misunderstanding from the President as to what is in our Bill of Rights. Maybe Trump should have accepted when Khizr Khan offered to lend him his copy of the Constitution. Regardless of what the Tweeter-in-Chief thinks, the government (him) really is not allowed to threaten private businesses with new taxes and fines if their employees don’t stand, or to revoke the licenses of the press when they report things that he does not like.
In an effort to really let this column sink in, I am going to keep things as non-partisan as I can. This country is polarized in a way that it has not been since the Civil War, and that should make those of us who truly love the United States very worried. You may agree with football players who kneel, you may not. This discussion is not about that – It is about if you agree with the First Amendment.
Trump has been rallying against what he calls the “Fake News” mainstream media and NFL players who are peacefully protesting systemic oppression and police brutality in America. Many people have made the argument that the players are employees of the NFL, and the NFL can tell them what to do. Furthermore, companies like ESPN has the right to suspend Jemele Hill following her rant against the NFL and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Those are private companies that have the right to set whatever guidelines that they want for the people that work for them.
The President of the United States interjecting himself into these situations is blatantly and completely unconstitutional.
Earlier today, Donald Trump tweeted this:
Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
Which prompted REPUBLICAN Senator Ben Sasse to tweet:
Are you recanting of the Oath you took on Jan. 20 to preserve, protect, and defend the 1st Amendment? pic.twitter.com/XLB7QXM3bQ
— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) October 12, 2017
There has been a lot of discussion about “Patriotism” and what it means. What Patriotism is clearly NOT is blind loyalty to the President, or the flag. We often hear gun owners call themselves “Constitutionalists” because they accept the literal words of our Founding Fathers about the right to bear arms. Will these citizens who call themselves Patriots be as quick to rally to the FIRST Amendment?
Dissent is quite literally the foundation of this Nation. Donald Trump’s attack on the First Amendment today might literally be the most un-American sentiment ever uttered by a sitting President. Literally.
This is no longer about football players taking a knee, or partisan politics. This is no longer a left or right issue. This is now an American issue. It is time for America to defend its Constitution. ALL of its Constitution. Our soldiers give their lives to ensure that we have the right to a free press, a right to peacefully assemble, even a right to kneel when the national anthem plays.
If you fancy yourself a Patriot, do not let their sacrifice be in vain. After all – There are other Amendments that Trump should be worried about: Like the 25th.