The First Amendment Rocks, you know that? Despite my husband's quote at the bottom of this page, "You know, the problem with the internet is it gives everyone a voice.", I think he truly appreciates our ability to say whatever the hell we want in this country--even those from the intolerant right or the intolerant religious zealots. Yes, they get to talk too, and what they say is really the target of my husband's contempt.
Let your freak flag fly, I say.
No, I haven't heard about Jesus, how about you tell me all about him. Obama wasn't born in the U.S.? Tell me about it. Women shouldn't earn as much as a man does for the same job? Hey, let's talk! The Rapture is coming so pollution and consumption and waste doesn't matter? Let's go buy something!!
Tell me all about it.
Because we do have freedom here, not only do we get to say what we want, it's good to keep using our freedoms so they don't get chipped away. (psst. *said in hushed, secretive tones*Bush domestic spying--hey Obama, when you gonna stop that?) I get to say stuff too to counter what they are saying!
Let's take a peek at the First Amenement so we all know what we have the right to do:
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.
You can believe, or not believe, anything you want! The government has no say in that. None. Neither to establish (through tax dollars or text in public places), nor to prohibit. If you want to be a Wiccan, you can be. Totally American!! Yes, Fundamentalist Christians, THAT is what America is about. Tolerate that.
Now, because of the First Amendment, you can tell me that I'm going straight to Hell and that I need to get myself right with God!! You can say it, but I don't have to believe it and the government doesn't have to teach it--in fact mustn't teach it. That's just for you. That's your own individual freedom that you have a right to, that can't abridge my own individual freedom that I have a right to. Even Steven.
I can write all of this here, because there is the freedom of the written word, and speech.
Tonight, when my family goes to watch fireworks, we will meet with another family and we get to do that because of the First Amendment. You can go where you want. You can see who you want. We take that so for granted here.
I spoke with a Romanian man once who explained how they would meet people in the city where he was from. No one was allowed to stand near a statue of Nicolae Ceausescu, but it was an obvious place to meet people. So, people would slowly walk in a large circle around it, waiting until their friends would arrive. Can you imagine? You can't just stand there??
Other countries insist on citizens carrying papers identifying them. Crazy, right? It's like old Communist Romania or Russia or Germany during WWII. Who would want that kind of intrusion on personal freedom here in the U.S.? It is soooo UnAmerican, isn't it? Look at the First Amendment. That's American, not anything that seeks to alter that.
I could tell Bush how pissed off I was at his policies and law breaking--torture really is against international law--and, I can tell Obama to get it together and stop all of Bush's policies. Get us out of Iraq. Get us out of Afghanistan. Quit cozying up to the same corporate leaders who made a mess of our economy and environment and fight for the people! That's why we elected you. I can say all of that because I have a right to tell the government whatever I think. I have the right to sue the government when wronged by them. That is American too.
All of these rights are the basis of our American culture. The expression of these rights is what makes this country so fun. You can be who you want and how you want and where you want. It is about freedom here.
As this is the Fourth of July weekend, I think some patriotic music is in order. My friend L. and I were talking last night and we both agreed we like Jimi Hendrix's Star Spangled Banner. It is his free expression of the song, but also his ability to weave in the sounds of bombs and screams that is so compelling. Think of how the Viet Nam War was raging on then and hear the song. Now remember that WE ARE AT WAR EVEN NOW!! STILL!!
We kinda forget that with the daily life thing happening, don't we? Unless you have friends or loved ones in the service, it's not a topic that comes up in daily life. If you read or listen to alternative media sources, it comes up. That's not what most of the mainstream press is covering. But, by God I know that Sandra Bullock was just divorced! What?! Yes, she was. I know that Skechers has a shoe called Twinkle Toes and they realllllly want my daughter to buy a pair. That's a use of the First Amendment, I suppose, but some exposing of wrong doing by the wrong doers would also be a good thing.
Think about your freedoms, use them, and fight the good fight!
Happy Fourth of July everybody!
And for fun here's Purple Haze, which he played right after the anthem.
Enjoy, because you can...