In the past few weeks it’s become painfully clear that America can, and has been, shut down, quickly. There’s a variety of ideas on what to do, how to do it, and how long it should last…but, to me it means that, despite the best efforts of our government(at least that part of it that is not spreading panic) to placate the people, some panic has been unleashed. We are supposed to quarantine ourselves, and not gather in large crowds. The message, and the reasons behind it, seem to have been lost on “the young people” as they take their Spring Breaks in all the usual places in gatherings of thousands. It would be tragic if one or more of them ended up with a fatal dosage, and we never knew their true potential. Maybe there’s a cure for cancer, or the common cold, a brilliant musician or composer… but we’ll never know because they died from being stupid and way too “brave” for their own good.
In our Constitution is the Second Amendment. To my way of thinking it is the ONE thing that makes everything else possible. If the citizenry is deprived of weapons, just imagine what the government could do, if it desired. That’s the Second, but it protects the First, and does a fine job of it too. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution because the states were not satisfied with the claim that the Constitution was a document of “enumerated powers.” The Founding Fathers, smarting under a monarch that really abused his New World subject, decided that there were “certain unalienable rights” and they deserved to be recognized. Because of these five freedoms, those attacked had the right — to respond by speech, press, assembly, religious critique (Thomas Jefferson was called an “atheist”), while at the same time to “petition the government for a redress of grievances. These were “rights” that were unheard of in a monarchy…how dare these upstarts tell the King what they will and will not do?
In many venues today, in colleges and universities, the RIGHT to speak your mind has been curtailed. “The young people” have been vehement in their denial of the First Amendment to those whose opinions don’t mesh with theirs. Has nobody understood that a couple of decades ago, and on a lot of the same campuses, it was THE thing to have a controversial voice, but those people are NOW the ones saying to their indoctrinees that “free speech” is no good. Wait a decade or two again, and the tide will turn…maybe. Speakers have been forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for security, all because they dare to publicly express ideas that differ from those of some students, professors and school administrators and even when they DO get on stage, they get howled down. Anyone remember that the Free Speech Movement started on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley?
This is the text of the First Amendment: “ 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.” Seems pretty straight-forward to me…you have the right to say what you want in just about any setting and you can even “sue” the government if they mistreat you! Where the problem COULD be compounded is when the local government and the local law enforcement do not do their sworn duty to protect the speakers. Oh, and let’s not forget that the speakers were INVITED to speak at the venue from which they’re now barred!
In my not-so-humble opinion, if the majority of elementary and high schools were teaching the subjects that I was taught, the students would know how our government works, why we fought the wars against a country that is now our staunch ally, and why America is “the noble experiment” that people from other countries want to be a part of. Think of this…if America was HALF as bad as some Americans think and claim that it is, why are people still flocking here, risking life and limb to do it? Of course, in that group of people trying to get to America we HAVE to face the fact that some of them are not coming here with “doing good” on their mind. I’m all for immigration, and I agree that our laws need an overhaul, but we also need that wall. Realistically, we know there are foreign agents sneaking in, and intending to do us harm.
Memory expert David M. Roth, writing in 1918, observed that “We can remember only through relation, through association of ideas, because that is the way the normal human mind works, and no one can change it. Practically all mental action and development are based on the Association of Ideas and the use of visual faculty.” Is it too far out of any rationale to expect that our “young people” should love the country in which they live, and expect to live with their families? World War Two is “ancient history” to many, and to many the Holocaust never took place.
PARTING SHOT: “Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”