Maybe it is time to re-review the First Amendment to the United States Constitution given the seeming state of our nation at the moment. It essentially protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference.
Over the course of time, our government through the decisions of the Supreme Court has made some changes to the manner in which we interpret what was written in 1791. With changing times also comes changing interpretations if the Constitution is to be truly a ‘living document’.
We have the right to speak freely without government interference. I do that many times a year in the form of my blogs. If I were to try to foment insurrection, I may well have crossed over the line. Criticism of my government doesn’t necessarily mean I am trying to overthrow the government. The manner and the content of my blog is open to review should it appear to some authority to be over-stepping my rights. I am my own editor, unlike the way it used to be when I first began blogging in a local newspaper.
We have the right to assemble for peaceful and lawful purposes and those purposes include the right to speak of and to our beliefs. It has been held by the high court that the government has the right to prohibit people from associating in groups for the explicit purpose of engaging in or promoting illegal activities. That makes sense so long as the interpretation does not limit our originally granted rights.
We are human and that seems to carry with it the thought by some that there are really no boundaries to what we express and to how we express it. That is where we get to the Charlottesville types of situations. That assembly was anything but peaceful and anything but respectful of the rights of others. That assembly was a perfect way to highlight the term “anarchy”: a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authority. There was, in my opinion, an element of both in Charlottesville given the armament held by the aggressors and the absence of a meaningful and sufficiently powerful police response at the right time.
I am obviously of the philosophy that makes people think of me as being on the right, or conservative, side of the belief system. I am very comfortable in that skin. Then there comes the ‘alt-right’ intruding on my world and by no means is it conservative as I am conservative. This element of our political landscape is defined as a racist, far-right movement based on the ideology of white nationalism and anti-Semitism. That isn’t me; never has been and never will be.
So now, we are treated to the alt-this and the alt-that. The alt-right as stated above is defined as a racist, far-right movement based on an ideology of “white nationalism” and the “far right”. That sounds like a simple conservative that has gone bad when it is anything but that in reality. We see how easily we can become branded as something we’re not. The press is the distributor of these new definitions as much as anything else, and the press in many instances is decidedly left-of-center. Are us conservatives likely to get a fair shake in this situation? I doubt that given that our beliefs do not align perfectly with those of the press. Might there be a lack of adequate definition simply to tarnish the image of a ‘conservative’?
This definition of “alt-right” comes from the New York Times, incidentally. That same piece goes on to advance the theory that there is no “alt-left”. It quotes Mark Pitcavage, an analyst at the Anti-Defamation League, no less, as saying “alt-left” has been made up to create a false equivalence between the far right and “anything vaguely left-seeming that they don’t like”. “It is just a made-up epithet, similar to certain people calling any news they don’t like ‘fake news’.” I guess we know where the Anti-Defamation League is coming from. Liberalism is pervasive.
Could there be any clearer delineation of the fact that much of the free press in this country is leftist to one degree or another in any and all things published? I believe that to be the case.
The takeaway? Us conservatives will always have an uphill battle to get our story across to thinking citizens. We cannot rely on the media for anything remotely resembling a ‘fair shake’. We must continue in any and all forms of communication to make the case for conservatism vs. liberalism. We must be articulate and we must be bold. We are winning the quest for believers; witness the election results across this country. We must fight the good fight daily. We must be aware of what the press is obfuscating each day and call the members of that ‘elite’ group of people out with the facts that exist.