Mark S. Blackburn, Veteran USA
January, 2002 Editorial
Has Free Speech Gone Too Far?
Is it Un-American to be Critical of the USA & it's Leaders?
Friends, America's greatness is closely coupled to it's 1st Amendment right to free speech. Each of us as citizens are critical links in America's tradition of freedom and self-governance. We must constructively criticize corruption and violence against others if we ever expect to have a peaceful, prosperous, and happy world. History made our founding fathers well aware that governments tended to become corrupt. For this reason they greatly restrained our government with the constitution. And, they granted that the citizen was indeed superior to the government. They created our government with the radical concept that government existed to serve the citizens and not vice-versa. We were to be sovereign citizens with rights guaranteed by God. Among these rights were life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Yet in the last century, government has habitually exceeded constitutional bounds and is rapidly turning citizens into servants while government acts like God.
Indeed, it is every citizen's right to be critical of government...to audit government. Do I love my country? You bet I do! Am I proud to be an American? In many ways, YES. Should I be all the time? Of course not! Our government continues to deprive innocent people of their rights and property for no legal or moral reason. It has unjustly imprisoned tens of thousands of people for doing nothing more than smoking the same type of cigarette that Bill Clinton was too stupid to inhale and George W. Bush enjoyed while he tried to recover from his youthful alcoholism. How sad that we don't have equal rights as our founding documents decree we should! To wit: One man uses a native American plant for medicine and we put him in jail. Another uses this plant for recreation and we put him in the White House. These things ought not to be! (Incidentally, in case you are wondering: I have never used any recreational drug in my life, except for about 5 glasses of wine. I don't use drugs, and I don't recommend their use. But, I believe any adult in America should be extended the right to decide when and where he/she may use them provided that use doesn't infringe on others' rights.
Here's a short laundry list of some of the awful things the US Government has done:
As much as we love this country, we must admit that our government has made many, many mistakes injurious to US citizens, and injurious to others.
Bullies must be stopped! Just imagine if someone in your neighborhood was harming others. Wouldn't there be an uproar? Would you sit idly by if some anti-social 12-year-old boy threw rocks at cars as they drove by? Or, would you take him to his parents and have a talk? Government is composed of fallible people who sometimes make poor decisions. They shouldn't. But, they do. Just like the 12-year-old boy, we need to take government to the woodshed when it is misguided. If we did not have Freedom of Speech, we could not do this. And, government would quickly become tyrannical. May God Bless the many who withstood abuse and ridicule as they began to criticize the Vietnam War effort. Through their sacrifice and exercise of free speech we put an end to the carnage which left a generation of Americans mourning 58,000 dead. Otherwise, it might have been many times that.
Citizens must be the masters of society. It is your American Right, Privilege, and DUTY to exercise wise critical judgment of the actions of government. Our government is supposed to be the servant of 'We The People.' When a servant begins to do things contrary to his masters' wishes, the masters must inform the servant. If you or I don't keep government honest and ethical, who will? In the 1930s not enough Germans were critical of their government. If they had been, NAZI Germany could have been averted. Clearly, a NAZI America is not imminent. However, it is the duty of the citizen to keep government honest & ethical which will keep such a reality from happening in America. It is citizens who speak out against the wrongs of government which will keep more Vietnams from happening, more race-based internments from happening, more radiation testing on unwitting citizens from happening.
Be grateful for heroic people. Next time you see a government protest, or hear someone being critical of a mis-guided government action, go thank that person! They are fighting for a better, freer, healthier society for you. You owe them gratitude, not attitude!
If you wish to live free, you MUST exercise your right to Free Speech! Those who don't exercise and guard their freedoms, are unworthy of them! At all times you will either be a part of the problem, or a part of the solution. When you see government corruption and fail to expose and vocally oppose it, you are a part of the problem. If you lack the courage & principles to be a part of the solution, at least have respect for those who do.
-A Veteran named Mark
"It is not the function of the government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error." - U.S. Supreme Court
Mark S. Blackburn, MBA
1310 E Street Victorian
Sacramento, CA 95814
Last Updated: February 14, 2010