“I, Loyal Citizen of the Republic, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
Every legislator elected to the US Senate and House of Representatives takes this oath upon their installation into that office. They obligate themselves to “support and defend” the constitution of the United States and “bear true faith and allegiance” to it.
“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.”
This is the complete text of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
Please note Congress shall make NO LAW… abridging the freedom of speech.
Haven’t we heard recently about Feinstein, Boxer, Clinton and others (even Trent Lott!?) who are looking to find a “legislative solution” to the “problem” of “talk radio”? Didn’t Feinstein recently complain that Talk Radio is home to “extremists” and “right wingers”? Isn’t the “fairness doctrine” all about regulating the CONTENT of speech?
The moment the CONTENT of talk radio becomes an issue for lawmakers who want to legislate to control it – does this not fly in the face of the First Amendment’s very clear text that Congress SHALL MAKE NO LAW… abridging the freedom of speech?
Ah, but the proponents of regulation will claim that talk radio makes use of the public airwaves under license and has an obligation to “serve the public interest”. But is it not in the public interest to provide a counterbalance to viewpoints which pervade the print and television media?
The so-called “Fairness Doctrine” is anything but. Rather than foster open debate, broadcasters frequently avoid political issues entirely rather than have to walk to tightrope of government regulations on equal time etc. This STIFLES debate rather than allowing the current open forums.
When the Fairness Doctrine was put in place, there were three broadcast TV networks, and few national radio programs. Equal Time enabled access to the media for opposing viewpoints.
In this day and age of broadcast radio, satellite radio, HD radio, Internet radio, broadcast TV, Cable/Satellite TV etc – there is no shortage of access to the airwaves for ANY viewpoint. The free market determines the ratings share. Rush Limbaugh is the most listened to radio talkshow host in
Conservative BOOKS tend to go straight to the top of the NY Times Bestsellers List. The public votes with their dollars. Nowadays, with the advent of desktop publishing, the proliferation of Vanity Press services, and outlets like Amazon.com… ANYONE can produce and market a book. But the market drives the popularity of opinion books, and the conservative market is strong, despite some booksellers attempts to “back shelf” certain titles.
The fact of the matter is that the moment the CONTENT of talk radio becomes part of a legislative debate or intent to act… the legislators have taken leave of their oath to bear allegiance to the Constitution – specifically to the First Amendment. Congress has no place even debating the CONTENT of FREE SPEECH!
Sadly, our current crop of legislator is not on the wrong track… they’ve derailed. Fortunately, there is the opportunity to vote them out in 2008.
Copyright © 2007 by Doug Edelman