“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.”
So reads the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights to the United States’ Constitution.
Today hundreds of US newspapers address in their editorial pages the importance of a free press in a democracy. They take this unprecedented action amidst the growing concern for the First Amendment and attacks by the current occupant of the White House against news media outlets and journalists whose reporting of 45 is critical. This duty of the press to speak truth to power is particularly vital in times when a president seeks to divide the American people by obfuscations and outright lies while praising and nurturing an ongoing relationship with a single media outlet, all but proclaiming it to be state media as authoritarian leaders are wont to do.
Indeed, the freedom of speech too is under assault with August 15th’s White House press briefing in which Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announded that her boss had personally revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, an outspoken critic of 45. Sanders went on to say “Mr. Brennan has a history that calls into question his objectivity and credibility” in an attempt to justify the action to White House press reporters and thus the American people. Sanders also read a list of former administration officials, also critical of the current administration, whose security clearances are also under evaluation. Those individuals are:
- James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence
- James Comey, former FBI director
- Michael Hayden, former CIA director
- Sally Yates, former Acting Attorney General
- Susan Rice, former National Security Adviser
- Andrew McCabe, former deputy FBI director
- Peter Strzok, former FBI agent
- Lisa Page, former FBI lawyer
- Bruce Ohr, former Associate Deputy Attorney General
This decision by 45 to try to cow and silence one of his most vocal critics is a preliminary effort to cow and silence the American people, and particularly marginalzied people, into submission.
The time to stop thinking of 45 as an inept clown has passed long ago. The United States, its institutions, and the freedoms and rights afforded to Americans are under attack by a president who thinks his power exists without limits.
Obviously Gay League is not by any stretching of the definition a press outlet in the category of major newspapers, television networks, and magazines. Regardless, Gay League fully supports the First Amendment and the obligations of a free press to the American people.
© Can Stock Photo / kentoh