Early on the morning of November 29th, Donald Trump tweeted “Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag — if they do, there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!” Disregarding the fact that Donald Trump really has no power to overturn the controversial 1990 Supreme Court Case Texas vs Johnson, this is concerning to me for a variety of reasons.
The greatest document of the United States is the Constitution. It is the sword and shield that the citizens use to guard themselves against the overreach of a tyrannical government. It guarantees the people of our great nation inalienable rights, rights that are often imperiled in other countries around the world. The Constitution legally enables the people of the United States to be free.
One of my concerns in recent years has been the fact that the Constitution is often taken for granted or ignored by the people of this country, or the significance of it is understated. Most of us are used to growing up in a free society, and it is hard to imagine living without the rights that we are given. But many forget that the US has a long history of denying constitutional rights to the people of the US and of other countries. For example, some of the oldest laws in our country are the Alien and Sedition Acts, passed in 1798 under President John Adams. The Sedition Act made it illegal to criticize the government, and the Alien Friends Act made it legal for the President to deport at will non-citizens who were deemed dangerous. Or the Sedition Act of 1918 passed under President Wilson, which made it illegal to criticize the government or the war effort. The Government used this as an excuse to jail female suffragists, and their political enemies, like the Socialist Politician Eugene Debs.
Espionage and Sedition ActsMy point with this is that the United States is a free country when people ensure that their rights are protected. Apathy leads to these rights being infringed upon.
My view on flag burning is that I wouldn’t do it, and I believe that most people would get extremely angry with you, you have a right to burn the American Flag as free speech. Trump threatening to jail people or take away their citizenship for burning the flag is a gross violation of our civil rights, and I’m sure that we will eventually learn that while Republicans like Trump, Bush, and Reagan worship the Constitution, they will not hesitate to take away our rights in the name of “national security.”
Now more than ever it is important for every American Citizen to understand and fight for their rights. Donald Trump will continue to crack down on our civil liberties, flag burning is just the beginning. He will expand the NSA and their illegal spying activities, and he will attempt to make dissent a crime.
Regardless of your views on flag burning, we are guaranteed that right by the Supreme Court and the Constitution, and we must respect it. The second that we give Donald Trump ground on this issue, the harder it becomes. I urge every American to understand the Constitution, to make sure that Donald Trump and his Administration are not able to violate your rights as a human being.
The United States of America, and other societies, only function when they have an educated and informed populace. Education furthers our civilization, it leads to innovation and progress. Of course, this is assuming that the education is comprehensive and fair.
Certain organizations in recent years, like the Texas School Board, have seen fit to edit our textbooks and the minds of the youth to fit to their ideological agenda. For example, a certain section of the textbook has this question. “Discuss the solvency of long term entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare.”
Just looking at this question in a rational and nonpartisan way, one will notice a few things, mainly that the textbook refers to Social Security and Medicare as “entitlements.” It is my personal opinion that programs like Social Security and Medicare are not “entitlements,” they are inalienable and necessary rights that have benefited millions of people. In addition, using the word “solvency” implies that programs like Social Security and Medicare are massive financial drains on the US Government, which they are not.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the most unbiased person, but personally I would rewrite that specific question to be, “Discuss the causes and effects of programs like Social Security and Medicare.”
Now, this is only one example out of hundreds, and history is not the only subject that is censored. Important topics like science and literature are also imperiled by the fundamentalist mentality of School Boards all around the country. Topics like evolution, and books like the Harry Potter Series, and countless others.
This is a direct quote from the Republican 2016 Party Platform.
“The federal government should not be a partner in that effort, as the Constitution gives it no role in education. At the heart of the American Experiment lies the greatest political expression of human dignity: The self-evident truth that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Their argument is that the Government should play no role in education because the Constitution doesn’t allow for it. They want the American Public School System to be dismantled, and return America to the pre-19th century educational system, which was primarily faith-based. Another quote from the GOP Platform.
“A good understanding of the Bible being indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry, we encourage state legislatures to offer the Bible in a literature curriculum as an elective in America’s high schools.”
The Republican Party wants to indoctrinate our youth, and close their eyes to the progress that we have made as a civilization. They criticize scientific and environmental thought because they supposedly contradict the faith that they hold dear.
In order to promote a successful generation of youth, we must encourage rationality, tolerance, and understanding of the scientific method. We must discourage homeschooling, and private schooling, which are effective methods of education but could potentially lead to blatant falsehoods being taught to the populace.
We must rebuild the American Public Educational System, and desegregate our schools. We must mix the classes, and encourage fair funding for all schools, regardless of race or income. And we must shove religious institutions out of education, for they teach lies and outdated methods of education.
Something is fundamentally wrong with out priorities when 54% of Federal Discretionary Spending goes towards the military, money that the military does not need. We spend 6% of discretionary spending on education, and 54% on the military.
We need to re-invest in our schools and our children, and ensure that private schools receive no vouchers from the state. We must also regulate charter schools effectively, and ensure that any school that receives money from the taxpayers remains secular and nonpartisan.
We must encourage the development of textbooks by nonpartisan committees, not by the political school boards, or corporations that serve only the interests of profit.
In conclusion, in order to produce a functional and intelligent society, the US must encourage secular and scientific education, and alleviate the influence of outside forces, including political parties, corporations, or religious institutions from our schools.
Just like millions of Americans, one of my passions is the history and culture of our great land. I enjoy reading about the political theories that inspired the creation of the United States, from John Locke to Voltaire.I have a copy of the Declaration of Independence framed on my wall, and a Constitution in my possession at all times. I believe that America is a great place, some of our founders were great men, and that the United States is unique in our characteristics.
Our Constitution revolutionized the meaning of freedom and liberty worldwide, and allowed liberalism to spread to all corners of the world. (Note, by liberalism I mean classical liberalism, not the twisted definition that most use colloquially today).
The US is the world’s oldest democracy, a world superpower, and the world’s leading economy.
Yet we have so much wrong with us. America is great because the intentions of our founders was to ensure that every American is guaranteed liberties the moment he is born. But this freedom allows the darkest elements of our society to have a voice, for those who preach hatred and intolerance to be able to speak out without concern for legal repercussion.
If you, like most Americans, watch the news, I’m sure you’re aware of the usual happenings of the news, murders, natural disasters, animals that get along well together.
But the news that is not shared, that is hushed, and repressed, is the most important happening of the 21st century, and possibly the most important news that one could concern themselves with.
Our Constitution is under attack.
Yes, you heard me correctly. Our Constitution of the United States of America is ignored, barely enforced, and this behavior is tolerated by many in the United States government to serve their interests, and the interests of special interest groups.
The National Security Agency spies on millions of people, violating their 4th Amendment rights.
Minorities are denied due process and legal representation in the legal system.
The 1st Amendment rights of the media is threatened.
This is not new. One of the oldest pieces of legislation in history is the Alien and Sedition Acts passed under our 2nd President John Adams, which made it illegal to speak out against the Government, and imprison immigrants and those deemed “hostile” to the security of the United States without evidence or trial. The Espionage Act of 1917, passed by Woodrow Wilson, made anti-war efforts illegal. This sounds good on paper, but the Espionage Act was used to imprison Suffragettes, Socialists, and many who opposed the Wilson Administration.
My point with this is that this is not a new ordeal for the American people, but the fact that it is increasing over time. This is not a partisan issue. Democrats and Republicans have both participated in this effort.
Leftish seeks to raise attention to the rights that we hold as Americans, and ways to fight back against those in the government and in special interest groups who seek to deny us our basic liberties as Americans.
Leftish seeks to fight ignorance and oppression of our constitutional liberties at all levels, regardless of ideology, race, sexual orientation, or culture.
This sounds scary, and rather impossible. But to quote Bernie Sanders, “when millions of Americans stand up, they win.”
I wish you all Happy Holidays.
- Gabriel Odom