The Constitution of the United States of America has been sacred to this country, our forefathers and ourselves since it was written back in 1787 and officially signed on September 17, 1787. Just four years later on December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was ratified and the First through Tenth Amendments to the Constitution went into effect.
The very First Amendment read, and still does read (for those of you who have forgotten):
“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.”
Today, over 225 years since the Bill of Rights went into effect, many Americans still do not know the rules which the Constitution and its Amendments lay out for citizens of this country. It’s quite sad really, but what seemingly is even more sad is that the President of the United States, Donald Trump, appears to be clueless when it comes to the two-and-a-quarter-century old document. Never before has there been a President so ignorant to the laws that are guaranteed by the country which he represents, and this is a major problem.
We’ve seen Trump’s ignorance of our country’s laws over and over again since he took office and today comes word of yet another attack on our Constitution. Reports are swirling that Trump privately asked former FBI Director James Comey to consider locking up reporters who publish leaks. Obviously Comey did not oblige at the time, knowing very well that doing so would be considered abridging the U.S. Constitution’s Bill or Rights — particularly the First Amendment. Freedom of Speech is what allows protesters to protest, news agencies to report stories based on their sources alone, and website operators to allow third party speech to take place. Freedom of Speech is one of the major reasons why the United States remains one of the most successful nations in the world and it’s why the Internet has become the information super highway.
Arresting reporters for publishing content provided to them by a third party would abridge free speech in every sense of the word. It would mimic the governments of the countries we have always been so critical of. These are actions that dictators and authoritarians take in order to preserve their power and take power away from the people. One has to question the motive behind Trump’s ideology. We should hope that it is his ignorance which is driving these decisions rather than the desire to follow in the footsteps of current and former world dictators.