Don’t Let Them Take Your Freedom of Speech!

The ruling class in Washington continually demands that we surrender “just a little bit” of our freedom, private property, or some other constitutionally-guaranteed right, and accept “just a little bit” of federal micromanagement and domination, to achieve whatever collective goal they deem best for us.  Just give us back some of your rights, and you will love what we do with them. We promise!

One of the latest attacks is on our First Amendment right to free speech. Senator Harry Reid is concerned that rich, conservative people are buying elections! I guess the hypocritical Reid has never noticed President Obama’s fundraising schedule – or the millions of dollars that billionaire George Soros and other Reid supporters are spending to push their liberal agenda. Equally hypocritical, Reid has repeatedly stood in his protected Senate chamber, exercising his free speech rights to rail against David and Charles Koch – successful businessmen that Reid refers to as “the Koch Brothers” – for contributing too much money to conservative causes, knowing that the Koch Brothers cannot, as private citizens, access or speak freely on the Senate floor to defend themselves. There is a video showing 134 times where Reid has personally attacked the Koch Brothers on the Senate floor.

Reid’s attack on freedom of speech comes in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, a few years ago, striking down the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law as an unconstitutional government restriction on freedom of speech. Many believe that this decision led to a huge influx of donations to conservative causes, followed by the historically-lopsided Republican victory in the 2010 mid-term elections. In hindsight, now that certain e-mails have been released, it seems likely that the Democrat’s first response to this election loss appears to have been to pressure the IRS to abuse its powers, in a partisan manner, by targeting conservative citizens and groups.  Think about that, if you disagree with those with government power, the government will come after you!  That foolish plan may prove to be costly, however, if the Department of Justice eventually does its job of getting to the bottom of the IRS scandal and prosecuting any criminal actions.

Now that the IRS scandal has been exposed, Reid’s new plan is to add an amendment to the Constitution that would scale back free speech under the existing First Amendment.  I will give Reid some credit, as at least this time the plan is legal!  But make no mistake about it – Reid is trying to chip away at our Bill of Rights.

To me, it seems like a desperate attempt by Reid and his Washington ruling class to retain power at all costs, by attacking the ability of outsiders to challenge incumbents or their policies. Reports indicate that the proposed amendment would include a provision exempting freedom of the press. How convenient for liberals, as the mainstream media would be able to speak freely, while citizens and citizen groups would effectively be silenced!

Some of life’s greatest dangers don’t unfold as a single event or with a warning. If a wall erodes a little bit every day, it will eventually fail without warning. And the same is true with freedom, as so presciently pointed out by President Ronald Reagan:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”

If we do not protect every single precious right we have under the Constitution, we are making a huge mistake.  Because once a right is gone, the loss of other freedoms will surely follow. And the next generation will not even know enough to miss them.

Dave Beltrami is a lawyer and political analyst living in Atlanta, Georgia.  He received his Juris Doctor and Master of Laws (Taxation) degrees from the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.