The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is an integral part of the civil rights in this country. Without the freedoms of speech, press, religion, petitioning, and assembly, the US would become a dictatorship with little regard for human rights.
Despite this, there have been far too many instances over the past 16 years that have pushed this nation further into a totalitarian police state, from the passing of the Patriot Act to the initiation of PRISM to the outright attacks on the Press. The non-profit organization “Reporters Without Borders” ranked the US 41st in terms of press freedom courtesy of the Obama Administration’s war on whistler-blowers like Edward Snowden.
Now, we are seeing yet another degradation as the Republican Party attacks the freedom to peacefully assemble. Following the night club shooting in Orlando on June 22, House Democrats staged a sit-in to protest gun violence that lasted an entire day before they disbanded. During this protest, Republicans attempted to shut-off reporting on it by putting a ban on cameras inside the building.
Of course, this was a complete violation of the First Amendment that the Democrats did nothing to publicize or fight against, and now we are seeing it bite them as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has proposed a series of new rules that will not only fine any congressmen that attempts to do an “unauthorized” sit-in, but will also force them to refer to the Ethics Committee.
Speaking on behalf of Ryan, spokeswoman AshLee Strong justified the proposals, saying: “These changes will help ensure that order and decorum are preserved in the House of Representatives so lawmakers can do the people’s work.” In other words, more partisan nonsense.
Not all the Democrats are standing by, as both Nancy Pelosi and Eric Swalwell have vowed to fight against these new rules. But without everyone on board, including the American people, the Republicans will be able to get away with any negative legislation they put forward.