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.
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.