Whether or not we voted for the same president, party, or believe in the same things, we are all citizens and all equal under the Constitution and laws of this country. Whatever our age, color, belief, faith, creed, tribe, or ethnicity — we are equal. We are the same before the law and in front of a cop with weapons.

I know about slavery. I know about endless attempts to wipe out every last Native American … and enslave every person of color … and several fortunately ineffectual attempts to lock up or get rid of other non-white peoples. We do not live up to our pledge to make life equal and fair for everyone, but that doesn’t change the intent of our Constitution or laws.

Yes, I know what the original said. I also know about the amendments that changed it. That is the point of having amendments — to alter the original.

That we have corrupt police officers and evil people who would prey on us and change us from a democracy to a totalitarian or fascist regime is sad, but probably inevitable. I will fight oppression and subversion until my dying breath. When you give up on freedom for others, you are give up on it for everyone. Oppressors don’t stop with one group. Once these people get started, they keep at it until they’ve gotten everyone under their guns. Oligarchs, autocrats, and kings want power and if you are in their way, you too are dead. They get power and keep it until a war overthrows them.

1st amendment cartoon

The first amendment states you can say, write, or publish whatever you want without fear of being arrested, shot, imprisoned, or otherwise legally penalized. On television, the internet, as film or in print. From your mouth or on your blog, even if what you are saying is incredibly stupid, baseless, and factually incorrect — and even if it offends everyone who reads or hears it.

The first amendment does not require you to utter, write, film, broadcast, or publish whatever idiocy crosses your mind. Just because you can does not mean you should. The Constitution protects your right to be a moron. It does not mandate you actually behave like one.

As an American, being a loudmouthed jerk is constitutionally protected — until you stop being a loudmouth and start hurting, killing, and locking people up. That changes everything.

When the violence begins, your freedom ends.

Those are your rights. My rights include the right to ignore you — and the right to fight should you impose your values on me.

A right is not a substitute for using your brains. It’s good to think. It’s good to read a book, check your sources. Find out the right thing to do — and then, do it. Your ignorant, blind opinion is not as good as everyone else’s, especially not when it’s based on hatred and fake facts. Hang on to your conscience, too.

You get respect after you trade your ignorance for knowledge.

Give reality a chance. Try thinking for yourself. Stop following your “leader” and prattling whatever nonsense he or she spouts. Our nation will be grateful to you. I will be grateful. With a little luck, the world will be a better, too.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.


  1. I’m afraid your words will fall upon the deaf ears of those who are avowed supporters of the unhinged man-boy who currently occupies the White House. And after what he said today, calling him “unhinged” is giving him the benefit of the doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said.

    Something i would add though is that ‘Rights’ in any society don’t come for free – they come with corresponding Obligations. You don’t get anything for nothing in this world. 😉


    Liked by 1 person

          1. It used to be. Back when we were in school, they taught “civics” which was everything you needed to know about your government and how it works. Everyone took it. Now, they are all learning it is pieces, from TV reports.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘Just because you can does not mean you should.’…this is the part that confuses people..or at least one person. I am guessing he never heard the phrase, ‘shut the hell up!’


    1. Yeah. Apparently either he heard it TOO much or not at all. It’s hard to tell, as loudmouthed jerks are born of both singularities. To be as insecure as he is? I’m figuring his parents never said they loved him and he is still looking for love in all the wrong places.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Another side to the first amendment — and one I think we need to think about seriously — is while anyone can say what they want it is not necessary to listen to them, accept what they, react to it. IF the white supremacists had done their little thing and had been COMPLETELY ignored, the outcome would have been very very different. If they had not been resisted, if they hadn’t been televised, if NOTHING had happened but a bunch of fat poorly dressed white guys had marched with Tiki torches to a statue and given speeches and walked away with no fanfare they would have looked as patently ridiculous and absurd as they are. That is, of course, impossible. No one can be a “supremacist” if they’re not recognized as such.

    My friend Elizabeth was here this morning and she was irate. “We teach kids how to deal with bullying and now we have a bully running the country and we don’t follow what we know and what kind of example is that for kids?” We didn’t get to finish the conversation because the dogs clamored for attention and, in their case, it’s hard to ignore…

    It seems that in fighting a bully the stragedies come down to either don’t fight back and ignore him, going on about one’s life doing the right thing, or fight to kill. I think that is our choice right now. I don’t know.


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