“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 redress of grievances.” First Amendment, U.S. Constitution
In the first two weeks of the Trump administration, the President or his staff have taken actions against, or complained about, the expression of each part of the first amendment. It’s like they’ve never even read it.
Police departments in large cities have had to deal with protest crowds for years, and most of them, most of the time, do fairly well. Now, in the Trump era, departments in even small towns have had to engage in a crash course in how to respond. Most of them are also doing fairly well in respecting their citizen’s first amendment rights. Visalia held a protest recently, where organizers expected maybe 80 or 100 people to show up. Imagine everyone’s surprise, especially the Visalia Police Department’s, when an estimated 500 were on hand to express themselves. VPD must have done a good job, we’ve not heard of any issues arising from the peaceful protest. (a lot of nonsense on Facebook about it, but that doesn’t really count)
I think the protests are the only good thing I’ve seen happen as a result of Trump winning the Presidency. He’s reminded the American people of their basic civil duty, and their right to engage in defending their country. I doubt he thought it would be in response to his actions (or just his presence), though.
We’re going to be seeing a lot of this kind of thing in the future. I have no doubt that instigators will try to inflame things by engaging in violence and destruction (as we saw in Berkeley), and of course the Fox News and Breitbarts of the country will try to lay the blame on liberals and liberalism. They’ll ignore hundreds of peaceful demonstrations, and focus on the few outliers. After all, that’s how they drive their ratings and page clicks. I have no doubt that Robert Reich was correct when he stated on CNN that outside agitators invaded the Berkeley protests, set fires and broke windows, and that they are linked to right-wing organizations. Peaceful protests don’t suit their agenda, so it’s not unexpected that things like that happen.
I expect more events like Berkeley will happen, as the right wing begins to recognize how badly they’re losing the hearts and minds of the public.
To qoute Scotty: “Hold on tight, lassie. It gets bumpy from here.”
And since my recent posts have generated a lot of uniformed commentary on the Visalia Times Delta’s Facebook page, here some important information:
This is not an “article”. I am not a journalist. I am not employed by the Visalia Times Delta, and they do not edit or censor or otherwise control, my posts.
I am a “community blogger” and my blog is hosted at the Visalia Times Delta’s page, on Gannett’s servers. If you want to become a community blogger, contact the Times Delta. This has been available to the public for several years. Take advantage of it, it’s fun!
First Amendment quote and image from US Courts.gov.