Another Country

First Amendment to the Constitution

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.

When Congress or the Senate condemns a specific person or group for political speech – especially speech that attacks public officials – this is not exactly in direct defiance of the first amendment (no law has been made) but it could have a chilling effect.

“Better not say anything bad about a government official or you too could be condemned by the government.” That’s the message it sends.

Some people might wear such a condemnation as a badge of honor. But others would be cowed into silence.

I am disturbed that 72 members of the Senate thought an attempt to chill political speech was a good idea.

As Phil Ochs sang back in 1963:

Oh, it must have been another country —
Yes, it must have been another land.
That couldn’t happen in the U.S.A.
We’d never treat a man that way.

0 thoughts on “Another Country

  1. DL Emerick

    Well said, John.

    Shades of McCarthyism.

    Contempt of Congress is what the people should have, to give Congress, and not the other way around.