What Donald Trump Doesn't Understand About The First Amendment

What Donald Trump Doesn't Understand About The First Amendment

When you threaten the media, you threaten democracy.
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For a President who likes to use social media and news outlets to convey his thoughts and positions on many issues, Donald Trump sure does want to silence these very outlets. Our President has waged all-out war on our media which is protected by our first amendment. This amendment reads,

“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.”

To summarize, this means the government cannot persecute you for what you say or how you say it. While there are exceptions to the speech the First Amendment protects (i.e. obscenity), critical rhetoric regarding the government is surely not one of them. In United States history, the media has exposed national scandals, unfair business practices, and, most recently, allegations of sexual assault.

The press is vital to our system and keeping the government in check whether you like it or not.

Sadly, our president is doing everything he can to attack one of America’s most important democratic factors.

Recently, he tweeted about the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) revoking the network licenses of news channels who wrote or reported what he deems “fake news” stories about him or his administration. There’s one small problem with this though. The FCC doesn’t grant licenses to networks or cable channels. The channels he often attacks such as CNN, MSNBC, and ABC don’t have licenses to revoke. The FCC deals with things such as indecency and cross-ownership rules. Not whether or not MSNBC reported Trump’s new bill the way he wanted them to. You can’t shut down criticism of the government just because you don’t like it and the first amendment protects news stations from this very incident.

Another event having to do with free speech that has dominated the news recently is the NFL protests which Trump has attacked with zeal. Many tweets have been sent out on the subject but Trump has made it very clear that players should be fired for kneeling. Peaceful protests and symbolic expressions have been the backbone of many changes in our democracy. The first amendment protects symbolic expression as determined by the 1925 Supreme Court case Gitlow v. New York. It also protects symbolic expressions, such as flag burning, as determined by the 1989 Supreme Court case Texas v. Johnson.

Free speech and the protection of it is vital to our democracy.

Our President’s apparent lack of understanding of it threatens what makes America actually great. We have distinguished ourselves from other governments because our press can report on controversial topics without worrying about being arrested or attacked. Trump’s zeal for wanting to attack and silence all of his critics is concerning and a threat to American democracy.

Cover Image Credit: @realDonaldTrump

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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I'm Proud To Be A Liberal, Even Though It's Hard In A Small, Southern Community

"So, what do you think about *insert controversial topic here*?"

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Growing up in rural North Carolina, having a different political stance was hard, to say the least. I grew up in a conservative home with my parents and my sister. Whenever I entered high school, I began to explore politics and developed my own views, rather than rely on my parents.

Being a liberal in high school, I was often bombarded with questions from my peers and members of my community. Every time something would happen in the world that was controversial, I would always get asked, "what do you think about it?" The truth is, it made me super anxious since I didn't like discussing my political views because it made me feel so out of place.

When the 2016 Presidential Election came around, I had a teacher that surveyed us on our political views. I didn't answer the questions truthfully because I didn't want her to judge me. When the election results came out, my small rural high school was full of "Make America Great Again" propaganda. We had a class discussion the next day but I kept quiet since I didn't want to discuss my feelings because honestly, it was no one's business. I couldn't vote at the time, but I still had my own opinions.

I attended the Red4Ed rallies and I was told, it wasn't doing anything but causing a disruption. But, we made a DIFFERENCE!

People were always SO SURPRISED to find out that I am a liberal. They would instantly assume I was the worst, the stereotypical Democrat. During class discussions that were politically motivated, it was usually me against the rest of the class. But you know, I learned to deal with it.

I learned how to avoid political topics, I learned how to bite my tongue, I learned how to respectfully disagree, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I learned to be open-minded.

If you have something that you want to talk about as adults, sure, I am open to listening, but listen to my side too. I have conservative friends and family. I have learned to not indulge in the latest political topics with them. We have respectfully agreed, to disagree.

I am proud to be a liberal, even in a small, southern community.

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