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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Playing with fire

Yeah, I know as a journalist that I have a vested interest in the First Amendment, but this scares me as an American citizen, too:

Increasingly, the First Amendment is coming under challenge — by the American public.

More than a third of Americans say the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees, according to a new survey.

[. . .]

Thirty-four percent said the First Amendment goes too far — up from 13% the year before. Not since 2002, in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, has such a large percentage of Americans favored weaker protections. The center started doing its survey in 1997.

The group said the results show that Americans are increasingly willing “to give up their rights and freedoms in return for greater security when they feel threatened.”

There's a reason the First Amendment is, you know, the first amendment. The ability to speak our minds and freely associate with one another and seek a redress of our grievances are central to keeping ourselves free and holding at arm's length those who would control us. Freedom of religion is ownership of our very thoughts. People willing to give up those fundamentals for a little security get what they deserve, I suppose, but it affects thee and me as well. A life lesson for you: You don't have to be the one playing with fire to be the one who gets burned.