In the United States of America we have a long tradition of petitioning our government for redress of grievances. The right, not the privilege to do so was empowered to us in the U.S. Constitution by the Founding Fathers of this country who knew the importance of keeping “human” citizens at the center of the Constitutional Republic. They did this in the Bill of Rights, First Amendment.
Common people across all demographics have used the First Amendment as a means to freely assemble, express their freedom of speech, and when necessary use nonviolent civil disobedience to raise awareness about social injustice, or a lack of government accountability to them or their issues.
Many great people and leaders have participated in protest events in the United States and around the World resulting in social and political change. It is important to note that rarely does change come when it conflicts with entrenched special interest at the government, corporate, plutocratic level without massive participation in protest and civil disobedience; in fact every major change that has occurred in society was born from those sustained efforts, from the bottom up, whether it was our own nations independence, (women’s, civil, human) rights or consumer, environmental, military / defense policies etc…
These protests, demonstrations, and acts of civil disobedience are not isolated to the big events you might see on TV, but occur nationwide all the time, probably everyday all over American small towns, suburbs, and cities, in some form, over some issue by an individual, maybe two, three, a small group as a means of extending the reach of their speech in the market place of ideas.
These rights allow ordinary citizens in a rapidly changing world to grab the megaphone, the,” We the People”, voice and insert themselves back into the democratic process where they have been shut out by big money, and special interest.
I am of the belief that overzealous legislators in the House, Senate, and unfortunately the President of the United States, who is a constitutional lawyer, have committed a serious encroachment upon the unalienable and alienable rights of American citizens with the passage of HR 347 into law. How can citizens be kept from the expression of their First Amendment Rights? Where is there any room to restrict or diminish a citizens 1st Amendment Rights, in the Bill of Rights section of the U.S. 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.
I think someone owes the American people an answer for this legislation; It should be challenged in court. The media was complicit in not confronting the government, or informing the electorate. What would Thoreau, Gandhi, or Martin Luther King think? I know what one of the Founding fathers thought.
I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion. _ Thomas Jefferson