“Inalienable rights” Really?
“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.”
This all-important Amendment, which is a very bedrock foundation of our way of life and freedom in the United States is so simple that it is hard to understand some current popular misconceptions, misuse, and outright (deliberate) distortions – not just by the uninformed, but by media, public figures, and those who twist it for their own social agendas.
Since the creation of our country, men and women have fought and died to protect these rights, and now some are deliberately stomping on the American Flag to show their disrespect of this country.
This is an outrageous act that is a highly personal insult to many Americans, and that they admit is designed to cause outrage.However, according to the law, this is protected free speech. (U.S. Supreme Court in Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989) and in United States v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990)). Many have called for a Constitutional Amendment to protect the Flag, but although it has been proposed in Congress (and passed in the House) numerous times, the most recent attempt to adopt a flag desecration amendment failed in the United States Senate by one vote on June 27, 2006.
What does that mean? Well…it means that American Law Enforcement is obligated to protect that right of free speech, and that many United States Military Servicemembers and Veterans have, and will continue to put our lives on the line to protect that right.
It also means that, when not on duty, we have those same rights of free speech, protected under the Constitution, to voice our opposition to the desecration and disrespect of our Flag, and the disrespect to those law enforcement officers, servicemembers and veterans who are sworn to protect the rights of the desecrators.
I actually feel sorry for those who are falling for the latest fad of disrespecting our Flag, our American way of life, our law enforcement and other public servants (and protectors). They did not have the advantages I had of growing up in the military and seeing the many sacrifices the families, as well as the servicemembers paid.
They did not have the advantage of living in and visiting several countries – many of which had totalitarian or dictatorial governments, and NONE of which had our liberties and protections – and Constitutional Rights. They did not have the advantage of being in Turkey in 1969 during the unrest, and having been put down on the ground with an Uzi pressed into the back of their head by the government forces just because they “thought I was a college student”.
No – they live in a country where they can walk on the flag, and the police arrest the Veteran who was so offended she took that flag from them to protect it from desecration, interfering with their free speech…
Many of my fellow law enforcement officers, military servicemembers and veterans understand what it is to sacrifice for the protection of the rights of free speech…and remember those who have gone before us. I know I certainly do.
Every single clause in this brilliantly crafted Amendment has been a source of news lately, with people taking sides, and arguing ad nauseam about what they “mean”. In some cases, this is deliberate – directly from Saul Alinsky’s 12 Rules for Radicals (RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon” and RULE 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it”).
We’ve even had the Mayor of Baltimore misuse the “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” (emphasis added), by blatantly allowing the lawless destruction and vandalism of portions of that city, and justifying it by saying “she instructed officers to allow protestors to express themselves and that “we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”” (emphasis added).
For me, it is simple. They have the right to free speech as defined by current law. They have the right to peaceably assemble as defined by law. I also have the right to my free speech…and to protect myself and others against non-peaceable actions…do not try to disrespect me, or those who have gone before and given the ultimate sacrifice to protect your rights in my presence – and do not try to take this flag from my arms…