By Dr. T
“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.”
Democracy is a messy process. Diversity of thought and of ideas, is even more difficult to navigate than our clear and present racial, political, economic, religious, sexual and gender-based identities, our various ethnicities, nationalities and the diversity of abilities–both physical and emotional–that include the people who call themselves Americans.
The multicultural identity that makes America the incredible and grand experiment it is, the singular characteristic that makes our nation exceptional, is the very thing that continues to frustrate those for whom diversity in all of its forms is an inconvenient truth, a problem of “political correctness”, and something that should be buried as a part of some mistaken concept of inclusion that just makes their lives more difficult to live. Equality, equity and inclusion are not the ideals that “these folks” are prepared to struggle with or to fight for in perfecting the “America” that “they” want to live in or strive to achieve. This is the reality with which we ALL are now reckoning. America is more polarized than it is united. Although the discontentment, disenfranchisement and disconnection we see in the streets seem particularly magnified as we move from one President to the next one. However, it is not the political climate that has created this environment of dis-ease. The “politics” have definitely magnified and illuminated our “battle lines” against a backdrop that has made our differences more clearly evident than they have been in contemporary America, but it is not the politics that are solely to blame.
The interpretation of the Constitution, which holds our democracy accountable, intentionally creates fundamental fault lines in our union while at the same time challenging our basic character and responsibility as citizens not only of the United States, but also of the world in which we live. The FREE exercise of religion, of Speech and of the Press, along with the Freedom to peaceably assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances is fundamental to our democracy. The 1st Amendment is inclusive at its core; it establishes a warning against government over-reach and calls for accountability of the government to the people, not the other way around. “We the people in order to form a more perfect union…” The government owes the people accountability. The government is established by the people for the people and serves at the behest of the people. The people are not merely those to be governed by some benevolent leader or all-knowing powerful republic or democratically elected President. The people are the government and those in leadership serve by the will of the people who have elected them. We are the “BOSS”!
It’s time that we hold our government (ALL branches) and its leaders accountable to US! We need to engage in the oversight of the leadership we have put in office whether you voted for it or not, it is your responsibility as a citizen. We MUST begin to take responsibility for what our government is doing in our name. We need everyone to grab hold of that 1st Amendment and not let it go! Whatever you don’t use…you truly may lose. And, in this case, it’s called FREEDOM!