Prudence Scott seems somewhat blue and perplexed at today’s political atmosphere as expressed recently in an upstate newspaper (Opinion 11-10-2019) and feels we are a “fractious country at this moment” and filled with “gutter talk.” Actually, passionate contrariety of political opinion is nothing new in our country! But blessedly, in a Great America, peaceful public demonstrations and free individual expression of diverse public viewpoints are encouraged: but, not violence, destruction, civil disobedience; and, individual suppression of another’s contrary individual public political opinion by intimidation or violence!
Our nation began by violent public expression which resulted in tarring, feathering; hanging and whipping British Officials. It ended in a fratricidal and inter-neighborhood war against each other; and, a destructive war with England. After the Revolution many thousands left the nation and passions and violence simmered over neighborhood war killings and destruction for years. Then, after a severe battle over states rights, a Constitution was miraculously formed. George Washington, our very first President, ended a rebellion in a state over federal taxes by sending in 13,000 federal troops. Before Thomas Jefferson was elected president, newspapers claimed Jefferson had a slave concubine named “Sally” and that Jefferson was no Christian! Other newspapers claimed John Adams was an English monarchist! The Alien and Sedition Acts were very fractious. Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton had such violent political differences that those differences led to Burr killing Hamilton in a duel! The Louisiana Territory purchase by Jefferson was fractious; and, possible War with Mexico over Texas led to efforts in newspapers for the north to secede from the Union. Then, the worst, the Civil War over state’s rights, prompted by the catalyst of slavery, after the North invaded the South to preserve the Union: hundreds of thousands were killed and untold thousands permanently maimed; with untold millions in property destruction in the South that perpetuated hate, north and south, for decades. There was the Dredd Scott case and Jim Crow laws and other acts of discrimination and violence against blacks in the Democratic Party controlled south for decades after the Civil War that fostered gutter talk and violence probably lasting until today. There were mass demonstrations to stay out of WWI. Early 1900 demonstrations saw public upheaval over a women’s right to vote that ended in a Constitutional Amendment granting that right. There was upheaval about State Legislatures appointing Senators to the US Congress as opposed to election by the people. That upheaval ended in a Constitutional Amendment allowing the citizens in each state to vote directly for Senators. There was a great upheaval over the Eighteenth Amendment (alcohol) that lasted years before its adoption and the crime wave it created for some sixteen years until repealed. The 1960’s were fractious with rioting, media gutter talk and destructive demonstrations and blatant public insults to honored members of the military over the Vietnam War. We also presently have some 300 divisive and lawless “Sanctuary Cities” now openly defying federal immigration law in secreting and supporting illegal aliens.
Then the divisiveness of the Kennedy Administration and assassination, Johnson deception, Clinton impeachment, Martin Luther King assassination, Nixon fiasco; and, the deep divide of liberal Barak Obama policies. Twelve states since the 1980’s have had wide spread public discussion of secession and California’s recently, after Trump’s election, announced plans to put secession on a state ballot.
The Constitution of the United States was an imperfect document at the beginning, but it was also full of genius and wisdom as a method of government to bind thirteen (13) diverse individual nations into one federal government. It was, and still is, a miracle of wisdom created in a tumultuous time; and, America, through it, became the envy of the world for what it stood for and still stands for. Our country is still the envy of the World! Every one wants to come to America! That document wisely provided for correcting imperfections in its inception by providing an orderly means for adoption of Amendments-but it was so perfect and precise that amendments have only occurred Fifteen (15) times since the Bill of Rights (1791). That Constitution and the genius of its drafters has held us together for some Two Hundred Fifty (250) years: and we later, still in a free society; still support the right of free individual divisive public speech-even viewpoints we don’t even like-in a dramatically changing world with dramatic new problems. We have done this not by over throwing governments in internal lawless rioting! This grand document, our Constitution, has adapted according to the wisdom of each successive generation and their combating their divisive issues with amendments not lawlessness!
The problem to me is not public gutter talk or public divisive opinions-those are simply words, but the people who quit “sharing” their opinions through public speaking and turn to “physical violence” or “assault” “intimidation” in the streets, and usually just a few, to force their opinions on many by lawlessness. Physical violence, intimidation (assault or battery) should be met with harsh arrest and incarceration. Free peaceful speech should be protected. Talk, explain, suggest, and complain. Just don’t get violent-vote for your Political Party-don’t defy existing law you don’t like but try to change it legally. If you can’t change it politically and legally it simply means the public does not agree with you and you have no right to violence.
Free public speech is designed to win adherents to your viewpoint, whether about politics, religion, social issues or justice. Some public practiced free speech, however, is not just a different view point that incites opposition passion but seems designed to earn severe public abhorrence and disgust. Maybe that is even good as it demonstrates horrible attitudes of some of our citizens and sets the citizenry against them! Three recent examples are the Westboro Baptist Church, those who dishonor the American Flag, and those who dishonor the Office of the President of the United States. Westboro Baptist Church is a clear apostasy from Christianity; many fathers, brothers sons, and even these days many ladies, have died from 1776 until now serving their nation and its values in protecting the right of free speech and freely voting proudly under that flag. How some can dishonor them and their sacrifice now is beyond me! After the flag, the Office of the Presidency is the next most well known symbol of America around the world. You do not have to honor the occupant to honor the office-many, including Republican-Abraham Lincoln and Democrat-John F. Kennedy; have been assassinated and lost their lives in that office serving their nation, also under that flag! If you are a Republican and dishonor the office you dishonor Abraham Lincoln and if you are a Democrat and dishonor the Office you dishonor John F. Kennedy. Each sanctified that office with their blood!
Assassination attempts have been made against: Andrew Jackson, William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. The Office began in honor with George Washington and has been elevated in stature by these men-even with their flaws! They put their life on the line for their country!
Vote: don’t shoot your political, religious or cultural opponent! Violence only leads to anarchy and lawlessness which sometimes lasts for decades-even if you believe yours is the only just cause!