With the recent kerfuffle over the First Amendment of the Constitution perhaps it’s time we put both sides of the argument into context. Former government officials complain loudly about the cancellation of their security clearance as somehow violating their First Amendment right after they’ve literally lost touch with common sense. Anti-Trump media now claim that somehow he is infringing on their right to freedom of speech as well. Here is the First Amendment, pure and simple:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
It’s exactly that simple. Nowhere, within that very concise paragraph does it indicate that the issuance of a security clearance is a God-given birthright. Millions of Americans do not have clearances and manage quite nicely. Their right to free speech is unimpeded. Nowhere therein does it indicate that when an individual, private or public, is under attack verbally or otherwise from members of the free press, he is estopped from retaliation.
Government officials should, in our humble opinion, be routinely stripped of security clearances once they vacate the position which required such a clearance. In the case of John Brennan, the furor being created reaches such levels as to make one seriously question his ulterior motives. It would seem, more than anything, it is a resume enhancer for Mr. Brennan as he sits in a pundits chair at MSNBC, a virulent anti-Trump television channel.
Among the others who appear slated for removal of security clearance is James Clapper who has a similar job as Brennan over at CNN. Following these two men, there’s a long line of individuals from the FBI and Justice departments who have been fired or demoted. As far as most of the media who complain, I can only scratch my head because while trying to hide behind this very second amendment, they have lost all touch with objectivity. Front pages are often difficult to discern from opinion pages. Whatever happened to ascertaining and reporting who, what, when, where and why without the fingerprints of the writer all over the piece?
I once heard an old-time editor tell a young reporter, “ I don’t want to know what the hell you think were the underlying social issues, I just want to know what happened.” That’s still sage advice for today’s young reporters. Real news people are not, nor should they be, bloggers, faceBook or u-tube posters. We fear the ethical line has been blurred for journalists since social media has provided un-vetted access to the masses who are consumers of information. Today, it’s the number of “clicks” that is used to measure a writer’s work. Culturally and intellectually, that is society’s loss.
There is not, nor do we expect there will ever be, any sort of repeal or modification of the First Amendment as penned by our Fore Fathers. The article is so succinctly written as to ward off politicization by those who seek victory at any cost. Be warned, though, they will try.
Moving right along while looking for a segue from the previous subject to this one; it appears that there probably isn’t one but we have to wonder anyway, why is that when we elect our representatives they feel it’s imperative to write some new law or regulation. There already have to be the better part of 500 gun control laws on the books and yet, the opposition will not be happy without repeal of the Second Amendment. Name a subject and one will probably find the same case exists. When a new law or regulation passes an old one should be repealed!
“Where you find the laws most numerous, there you will find also the greatest injustice.”--Arcesilaus, Greek philosopher
“Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws.”--Plato, Greek philosopher
“The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.”--Lao-Tzu, Chinese philosopher
These observations, throughout the years, by renown philosophers who are obviously a helluva lot wiser than I, seem to epitomize the modern era dilemma with which our society is faced. We tend to elect lawyers to represent us in government and, as one would expect, they pass laws or create commissions who appoint bureaucrats who, in turn, then produce rules and regulations, telling us how to live our lives. Law-abiding people do every thing possible to live by those rules, while scofflaws do not. It’s just that simple.
The next time some says to you, “There ought to be a law...” think about it for a while. It’s possible that is the very last thing we need is one more law!
But, as always, that’s only one man’s opinion.
Fred Hall is the publisher of the Sentinel.