The United States Senate today took a horrendously frightening step. It passed, 72-25, a resolution condemning the Move-On Petraeus ad. Yes, that’s correct, the United States Senate just officially and as a governing body condemned lawful political speech clearly protected by the First Amendment.
Lets’ review. The First Amendment states: “Congress shall pass no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . . .” Granted, it does not specifically ban resolutions against free speech, but the principle of free speech has to prevail over any such technical arguments.
The Supreme Court has consistently viewed political speech as an especially sacred category of speech entitled to the highest protection. Political speech is quite literally the life-force of popular sovereignty and democracy. Without free political speech, there is no freedom, no democracy, no government really, just tyranny.
Think about it. What is the most telling characteristic of all totalitarian governments? Suppression of dissent, punishment and even execution of opponents of the rulers. Our Senate, in one of the few bipartisan acts of this entire session, just outlined political speech that it finds unacceptable.
It is a very small step from resolutions against certain political speech to laws against it and even punishments for it. And do not think for even a minute that the current Supreme Court would be sure to reverse a law making denigration of military officials in time of war a crime. It can so easily be framed as a matter of national security; that with terrorists potentially hiding behind every beard and under every Move-On T-shirt, criticism of the military poses a clear and present danger to the safety of the American people. And now that so many Democrats have gone on record condemning such speech, they are perfectly set up to be called flip-flopping, liberal, America-hating extremists for refusing to walk their talk and make illegal the type of speech they have already condemned on the record.
That the Democrats joined in this nefarious step toward outlawing speech against the government’s position despite the First Amendment just shows how far toward fascism we have really come. I actually think, today, we are there.
Think about how easily the Democrats could have opposed this resolution and taken at the same time a strong stand for the First Amendment while criticizing Republicans for wanting to violate our most important and cherished right. The Democrats could have simply said: “Whatever we may personally think about the wisdom or propriety of the Move-On ad, we do not believe it is the place of the United States Senate to take an official position on lawful speech protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Just as we would never consider an official resolution condemning, for example, the Swift Boat Ads against John Kerry, we believe it is highly inappropriate and even unconstitutional for the Republicans to seek official government condemnation of lawful speech.” Instead, the damn fool Democrats instead tried to pass a resolution condemning lawful speech they did not like, the Swift Boat ads. That this resolution failed while the Move-on resolution passed is even more scary, but really beside the point.
Because the point is it is never the business of the government to condemn private non-dangerous political speech regardless of its target or content.
I now believe the Democrats’ vote had nothing to do with their alleged fear of being called weak on national security or being opposed to the troops or soft on terrorism. The First Amendment gave them too easy an opportunity to oppose it on solid, easily explained and advantageous constitutional grounds without ever getting into the substance of the ad.
No, I believe that enough Democrats are fascists too that we can now safely say our government is run by fascists. Remember, fascism is really nothing more than government by a self-selected elite that puts its interests before those of the people based on a governing principle holding that the people exist to serve the state and have no inherent rights and, finally, that the will of the people can only truly be known and implemented by this ruling elite. Of course, the primary and paramount vehicle through which the people are manipulated, used and exploited is continuous war against ever-present and terrifying enemies sure to destroy each and every citizen if not for the protection of the leaders. Such a war footing requires glorification and exaltation of the military as the ultimate and most sacred representation of the inherent superiority and unmatched virtue of the culture.
If this is not what we just saw with the Move-on ad I don’t know what is. Move-on, a wholly legal, hugely popular, fully legitimate political action group was just equated with our “terrorist enemy” and condemned by a Senate resolution. Think resolutions lack legal force?: think Iraq war resolution.
We have slowly lost habeas corpus, protection against unlawful searches and seizures; the right to counsel, to know the charges against us, the right to a due-process criminal trial. Today, we just saw the first move against freedom of speech, made by the Democrats too.
Say goodbye to America; Say goodbye my baby. (With apologies to Billy Joel)