Republicans are systematically shredding the freedoms enshrined in the Constitution’s First Amendment because allowing the people to have a voice is a threat to the GOP’s fascist aspirations.
Like their vile demigod Trump, Republicans have historically despised the U.S. Constitution – save the 2nd Amendment and one religious clause in the First Amendment. Post Trump, Republicans have become relentless in their assault on the people’s freedoms contained in the First Amendment at the same rate they are erasing their right to vote.
Let’s face it, if Republican racists and religious fanatics adhered to the nation’s founding document, the various state legislatures and U.S. Congress could do the kind of business that serves the population and relieve the nation’s judicial system of litigation to preserve the inherent rights of the people contained in the Constitution.
However, Republicans cannot stand the U.S. Constitution in general, and the 14th and 1st Amendment in particular, because it provides for equal treatment under the law and gives the people a voice. Obviously the GOP’s attacks on women, the LGBTQ community, people of color, and socially conscious Americans would never happen if Republicans had a modicum of respect for, and fealty to, the U.S. Constitution they swear an oath to support, defend and preserve.
Since last summer when historical numbers of Americans took to the streets to exercise their First Amendment right to air their grievances regarding police violence against people of color, Republicans conferred and decided to put an end to the right to protest – precisely like Trump wanted.
The people’s right to assemble to air their displeasure at police killing their fellow Americans because they were not white is being criminalized in several Republican controlled states. And to make matters even worse, Republicans are giving their disciples legal authority to kill and maim protestors under “civil immunity” protections.
It was reported two days ago that, just like the fascist voter suppression efforts rampant in GOP controlled states, Republicans in 34 states have introduced 81 bills making peaceful protests a criminal act worthy of very substantial prison sentences if the protestors aren’t victims of legalized violence by vehicle.
In case any American had a doubt who these fascist anti-protest laws are meant to serve, recall that Florida’s fascist governor proudly announced that his state’s assault on peaceable protests was to demonstrate the country’s “strongest pro-law-enforcement legislation” and bolster his bona fides as a seriously legitimate fascist. The fascist Florida law classifies a public gathering of three or more people “a riot;” defendants are denied bail until they appear in court.
Now another Republican state is enacting anti-protest laws designed specifically to protect the Republicans’ precious fossil fuel industry and put Native Americans in their place as less than second class citizens with women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.
Montana Republicans passed an aggressive, “anti-pipeline protest law” where protestors face tens-of-thousands of dollars in fines and up to 30 years in prison. Montana’s Republican governor is expected to sign the bill into law to officially criminalize demonstrations at fossil fuel infrastructure sites that are also typically near Native American reservations.
Individuals face fines up to $150,000 and 30 years in prison, and any organization considered to be “co-conspirators of protest activity” will face up to $1.5 million in fines
It shouldn’t be a revelation to any conscious American that the force behind the Republican assaults on the First Amendment, and democracy for that matter, is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
The Montana bill, for example, is the “latest of over two dozen pieces of legislation modeled on the work of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council“ specifically written to stamp out protests even though they are protected under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The fascist Republicans are on a tear to wipe out the people’s voices with 361 voter disenfranchisement bills in 47 states and 81 (and counting) anti-protest measures. None of these fascist measures are constitutional and yet it is doubtful the conservatives on the Supreme Court will lift a finger to restore the First Amendment rights of the people or protect their right to vote.
America’s democracy was always fragile, but with a minority party aspiring to full-blown fascist rule and a Trump-packed judiciary anxious to disregard the document they swore to uphold, it appears that America’s little experiment in democracy will come to an inauspicious end.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.