Good morning boys and girls, let’s try a thought experiment today. I’m going to present two paragraphs with some words left out. They’re going to express sentiments that I hear on a regular basis. How would you fill in the blanks?
#1- The __________ is the cornerstone of our democracy. The freedoms that __________ guarantees have allowed us to grow and prosper as a people. Without the ___________ we might very well slide into more restrictive, repressive and even fascist society. I know that some of the results and perceived abuses of the __________ can make people uncomfortable, and that there are those that push it’s boundaries beyond what is reasonable, but none the less the __________ must be defended at all costs.
#2- The __________ is an old and probably dangerous idea. The founding fathers could not possibly have foreseen the cultural and technological changes when they wrote the __________. Things have changed and some modification and reasonable curbs need to be put in place. The __________ would never be enacted today. After all, we know better now how dangerous it can be. And really, it’s to protect the children.
Your choices to fill in the blanks are the 1st and 2nd Amendments. If you’re a conservative, red state Christian you probably put the 2nd in the first paragraph and 1st in the second one. I hear their arguments all the time. We have to censor the television. Artists shouldn’t challenge religion. This is a Christian country and should be run as such. Seeing sex will destroy the children. The government really should enforce my morals and my religion on everyone, especially the evil mass media and Hollywood.
If you’re a blue state liberal democrat you’ll just reverse the order. Hurray for freedom of the press and art and religion. But guns are bad. They kill people. Nobody NEEDS a large magazine and an assault rifle. And oh my god, we must save the children. Really, it would be safer for all of us of we’d just trust the government and hand over all the guns.
Here’s the lesson on all this: You’re both right and you’re both wrong. The 1st and 2nd Amendments matter. In fact they matter so much that our wise founding fathers put them RIGHT AT THE FUCKING TOP OF THE LIST. We are a free and prosperous people, to the extent that we are, because of both ideas. And they were put into law because the founders were smart enough to realize that there would always be a group of people attacking those rights. Namely, you!
So, to the left I say shut up. I don’t NEED an assault rifle, but I damn well have the right to own one. Just like you don’t NEED art and poetry and freedom of expression, you just like it a whole lot. And yes, guns are dangerous. So are ideas. We could spend the next 10 years debating whether an idea or an AR15 poses a bigger threat to the status quo. Look, I get that guns make you uncomfortable. So don’t own one. Just like you don’t own music that makes you uncomfortable. Or watch movies that you don’t like. Your fear does not trump the constitution unless you’re ready to hand over freedom of speech and religion to a mass vote too.
Oh, and you guys on the right, you shut up too. It’s not a Christian country, it’s a free one. If you don’t like art or poetry or rap music than don’t look at it. The occasional breast or gay kiss on film probably isn’t going to actually corrupt your children. And liberals are not killing your country. In fact they’re enriching it and driving it forward in spite of your narrow and poorly informed world view.
I know that I’m not the brightest guy in the room. (Okay, that’s probably not true, I know nothing of the sort, but you get the idea.) I’m not sure exactly why our constitution has worked when so many others have failed. Is it the 1st or 2nd Amendment that keeps us free? Maybe my gun keeps tyranny at bay. Or it could be my right to pass along ideas and challenge authority. How about we go with both. Because the red states gun might be protecting your liberal free speech, and the blue state progressive artist might be protecting your gun rights. What I do know is that BOTH sides truly believe that their favored Amendment is the crucial one and that’s enough for me to leave both well enough alone. Saor Alba, Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.