Every day I am grateful for the fact that I live in the United States of America. A country where people are recognized as individuals and are free to voice their opinions, speak their minds and to live in accordance with them, within reason.
More importantly, I’m thankful that our founding fathers had the wisdom to know– and address– our human needs and frailties in the writing of our Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
As we celebrate this Independence Day, and the words written in the Declaration of Independence, I am reminded that that document is not and was never intended to be a stand-alone guide. Without the subsequent Constitution and Bill of Rights, our nation would not have evolved as grandly as it has.
Given that reality, and the current political climate in America today, I’d like to take this time to focus on the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.
There is a good reason why the First Amendment is first and not the second, or third or whatever in the list of 10 Amendments in the Bill of Rights: It’s the most important— and the most vital– in securing that our democracy lives on.
Without the First Amendment recognized and honored, I shutter to think what would have happened to our country over the past 240-some years. Or, how we would be living or governed in these United States today.
So on this 4th of July, take a minute to read the following “Statement in Support of Freedom and the Press” written by Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1937 to 1971:
“In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the government.”
Celebrate and Happy 4th of July.