Pretty much what I’d expect from the editors of :
From yesterday’s editorial:
Its gun laws are among the most lenient, allowing even a disturbed man like Mr. Loughner to buy a pistol and carry it concealed without a special permit. That was before the Tucson rampage. Now, having seen first hand the horror of political violence, Arizona should lead the nation in quieting the voices of intolerance, demanding an end to the temptations of bloodshed, and imposing sensible controls on its instruments.
Yet, earlier in the editorial, the editors noted that Representative Gabrielle Giffords was the one who read the text of the First Amendment on the House floor, noting that the right to assemble was included in that. The respect for the First Amendment is strong among the editors of the Times, except, of course, when it comes to speech they don’t like, such as speech by corporations.
There was, of course, Washington Post staff writer Ezra Klein and his famous statement that we couldn’t really understand the Constitution because it is over 100 years old:
Actually, it seems that the Constitution is pretty easy to understand. Oh, some spellings in English have changed — chuse is now choose — but it really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the very plain English in which the Constitution was written
And looking at the first two amendments, the ones the editors of the Times don’t seem to like, is looking at some very simple English.
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.
What, I have to ask, is so difficult to understand about the provision that “Congress shall make no law . . . ?” The First Amendment lists six things, and says, very simply, that Congress shall make no law restricting those things.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
What part of “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” is so difficult to understand? Does “shall not be infringed” have some meaning other than what it says?
I have mentioned this before, but will do so again: if some of our friends on the left think that the actual words of the First and Second Amendments are so outmoded that they just don’t work very well for our 21st century society, why are there never any serious proposals to change them?
Those amendments exist precisely because of the concerns of the original thirteen states, that the power of the government being created by the Constitution was overly broad, and needed to be limited. Several of the states forwarded appeals for several amendments, specifically a Bill of Rights, to protect the people from the power of the federal government. The Framers had included an amendment process, and the First Congress did as the states ratifying the Constitution requested: they amended the Constitution.
So, I shall endeavor to help our friends on the left, with two proposed constitutional amendments:
- Section 1: The First Amendment to this Constitution is hereby repealed.
- Section 2: Freedom of speech, publication and broadcasting is guaranteed, save that speech which incites hatred, animosity or violence based on race, ethnicity, non-Christian religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identification may be prohibited.
- Section 3: The free exercise of religion is guaranteed, save that no individual expression of religious faith may be professed in public. No religious belief which would discriminate against any person based on race, ethnicity, non-Christian religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identification is protected by this amendment, or may be protected by any statute of any level of government.
- Section 4: Neither the United States nor any political subdivision therein may recognize, promote or protect any form of religious institution, belief or opinion. The Congress and the states shall have the power to enforce this provision through appropriate legislation.
- Section 5: (a) The freedom of speech applies solely to individuals. No company, corporation or other organization, save those which exist as representatives of working people, or certified journalistic sources may claim the right to unrestricted speech under the provisions of Section 2, nor may any organization other than a registered campaign organization or political party, engage in any speech or spend any money in support of or opposition to any political candidate.
(b) No individual member of any organization, save those which exist as representatives of working people, or certified journalistic sources, may claim individual status to circumvent the provisions of Section 5 (a) unless certified by the Federal Election Commission.
- Section 6: The Congress may enact any legislation required to enforce the provisions of this Amendment.
Of course, it’s more than just our First Amendment which just can’t be intended to apply to us today!
- Section 1: The Second Amendment to this Constitution is hereby repealed.
- Section 2: (a) Private ownership of operable firearms is hereby prohibited. The Congress may allow individual, registered collectors to own and possess registered antique firearms, if they are in a permanently disabled condition.
(b): Neither the government of the United States nor any of the governing subdivisions therein are required to pay compensation for firearms confiscated and destroyed under the provisions of Section 2 (a).
- Section 3: The manufacture, possession, purchase or sale of operable firearms of any type is prohibited within the United States, save for those registered companies manufacturing firearms for the Armed Forces of the United States, or authorized federal, state and local law enforcement agencies certified by the Department of Justice.
- Section 4: The Congress shall have the power to enforce this amendment through the passage of appropriate legislation.
Perhaps you think that this is a long-winded form of satire, but I assure you, it is not. When I read what so many of our friends on the left have written, in so many places, it seems to me that what I have proposed as amendments to our Constitution pretty much fall right in line with what they really want, but seem unable to say.
It seems to me that it is time for them to be honest about things. The editors of The New York Times cannot claim to support our constitutional rights and then turn right around and try to twist or redefine or simply ignore the specific, written provisions of the Constitution to satisfy their policy preferences. Having the courage of their convictions ought to mean standing up for what they believe, honestly and forthrightly.