Let’s rewind 228 years. It’s 1789 and you and I are looking at the founders of America. The leaders of this brand-new country decide they need to make changes- amendments, if you will- to their precious Constitution. These amendments will be ratified two years later in 1791 and will forever be known as the Bill of Rights.
You see, they had lived under the rule of a tyrant. They knew that allowing government officials, including themselves, too much power would result in a collapse of the values so many of their men and women fought for.
Enter the Bill of Rights- the ten amendments to the Constitution intended to further protect the American citizens from tyranny. When the great defenders of liberty sat down and had to decide what rights were so important to combat tyranny, what were the first words they chose to write?
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.
Now, let us return to 2017, shall we?
Journalists are arrested while providing news coverage of the DC protests.
From the NY Times:
The National Park Service Twitter account was censored, so members created a private Twitter account (thus masking the identities of Tweet authors) to combat that censorship without fear of political retribution. Why? Because they refuse to stay silent about climate change.
The social media gag order on them was quickly followed by a Trump official indicating the scientists in the EPA cannot publish their scientific research and findings without approval from the Trump political team.
And of course there’s the fake news accusations against any news source that doesn’t offer a (known) favorable bias.
Don’t even get me started about Kellyanne Conway and her “alternative facts.”
Those 45 words are a shield. As we fight inequalities and injustices and as we demand social change, these words remind us and the government that this is our birthright. That our voices alone are powerful enough to elicit change. That we will not be silenced. Defend them.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.