“I never thought I would live to see the day.”
That’s a sentence I would love to write sincerely, but the truth is I’ve been waiting for today. Today is the day that Donald Trump finally proposed finishing the demolition of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Today is the day that Donald Trump called for the press that disagrees with him to be shut down:
With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017
We should do a quick summary here and get everyone up to speed on Trump’s progress in dismantling everything America stands for. That’s not hyperbole. That’s not “right-wingers calling the very centrist Obama a Communist” kind of talk. Donald Trump hates the way America works. When he says he wants to make it great again, he is talking about before we had a Constitution.
The text of the First Amendment is unambiguous enough that it’s engraved in stone in the park outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the storied building in which the founding documents of this country were both debated and adopted:
The First Amendment protects four distinct things: Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly.
Donald Trump, from the earliest days of his campaign, made clear he had no respect for freedom of religion. He hates Islam, and he hates Muslims. It’s actually not even a religious thing for him, since he doesn’t have a religion other than for show for his supporters. He just really hates Muslims because they’re weird and foreign and threatening to him. He illegally called for an outright ban on Muslims in America.
Donald Trump has made clear with his ongoing feud with strong black Americans over where they have a right to protest that he has no respect for freedom of speech. It is, of course, the constitutionally-protected right of NFL players to “take a knee” during the national anthem so that people will notice their protest against the murder of their brothers and sisters at the hands of a corrupt white American justice system. He illegally called for their employers to fire Americans who express that right.
Donald Trump has made clear that he has no patience for dissent, or for the right of those who oppose his agenda and ideals to gather in public spaces. The Department of Justice, at Trump’s direction, has arrested hundreds of protesters who gathered at his inauguration and prosecuted them for “felony rioting.” He supports numerous anti-protesting bills in Republican-held legislatures across the country. He illegally demanded the IP addresses of more than a million people who simply visited an anti-Trump website.
And now Donald Trump is trying to take a sledgehammer to the final cornerstone of the First Amendment.
When all else fails, freedom of the press is our final line of defense against autocracy. It is our inalienable right to know what our government is up to, and the inalienable right of the press to report it. By illegally threatening to revoke broadcast licenses for stations that air news he considers unfavorable, Trump now proves he is a traitor to the United States Constitution.
One brave reporter immediately reminded Donald Trump of the document he’s sworn to protect. CNN’s Jake Tapper, in his role as a conduit of truth in America, tweeted back:
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 11, 2017
Featured image via Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images