Treason or Free Speech?

Hi and Happy Tuesday!  I become inspired to write about all kinds of quotes and things that I hear on the news, on television, in movies, or songs on the radio or items that I read about.  Today I am writing about a comment that our current President made during an event this week.  What are your thoughts?  Are you as amazed as I was?  And is it really treason?

Treason is defined in Merriam-Webster as “the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.”

It is not people not clapping or not standing during a speech. Perhaps it could be called disrespectful or rude, but it is not treasonous. Instead those actions are disagreement with a leader and a right of each citizen. I for one was shocked that our current President would say that about elected congressional officials who didn’t agree with his view on things.

It is also not un-American as he also said. In fact, because of the First Amendment, it is as American as you can be. Our country’s founders knew the importance of each citizen having the right and protection to say and believe as they see fit. They also felt that importance for the free press and for our freedom of religion. (Photos are from Power Point clip art.)

What I don’t understand is why more people aren’t up in arms that this is trying to be taken away. There are people who are trying to make it seem like a bad thing with comments of being treasonous, enemies of the people, or the fake media. And I for one am sick and tired of it.

As I have written before, the First Amendment is one of the hardest to honor since it means I have to respect a person who believes 180 degrees differently than I do. But it was written to protect each of us and how we live our life. I was a journalism major and learned to love this amendment and learned to know it must be upheld.

That is not to say that there aren’t problems with the media and biases. I know that. They are biases and slants and mistakes along the entire political spectrum. We just have to wade through them and listen to a variety of points of view. To call something fake just because you don’t agree with it or don’t like it is not right. And frankly needs to stop. Or be called for what it is.

Did you know that members of Congress didn’t clap or stand during the previous President’s state of the union either? It’s true. I watched the clip on the news. In fact, clips of both Presidents were played and looked the same – just with different people sitting down. The opposition was disagreeing with the leader as they had every right to do.

So my question is, why was it okay before but isn’t now? What has changed to make this the case? And, if we truly believe that, what is the justification?  Why one side but not both? Is that fair?  I don’t understand and am trying to understand. Does anyone have any ideas or theories on that?

Governing our country is messy, is hard, and is full of contradictory opinions. It is not a place where you can tell everyone how to think, how to respect you, and what to do when you are speaking. It just doesn’t work that way and it never has.

Our founding fathers had many disagreements and arguments, but made compromises to start this amazing country and provide us with the freedoms that we hold so dear. Then during President Reagan’s term, the Congress and House Speaker Tip O’Neill strongly disagreed with him and made those feelings known. Both sides argued a lot and disagreed but still managed to find ways to work together for the good of the entire country.

What did they know that we no longer know? Have we become so divided that we can no longer see or believe that the other side has merit, has some good ideas, and  value? Is it truly all one party’s fault who is currently in the minority? The majority party has no part of it? I just don’t get it. Both sides have to find a way to work together if things are ever going to improve.

I want us to argue for what we are in favor of without tearing those down who don’t agree with us. I want us to stop calling our opposition enemies of the people, or stupid, or other derogatory terms. I want us to be examples for our children that we can have healthy debates and disagreements without venom or hate seeping into our thoughts and words.

At my son’s school, they are learning about the three branches of government, the Amendments to the Constitution, and what they think is most important. The branches are separate and equal, neither one has more power over the other, and all serve vitally important parts of our country’s success or failure.

The students were asked which is the most important amendment to them. Our son said the First Amendment. In his answer, he explained that in some countries, if you spoke out against the President, you would be arrested. In America, if you speak out, that won’t happen.

This 10-year-old understands that more than some adults.  He is learning respect but that he doesn’t have to agree with someone just because they give an opinion on something. He is learning to find his way and what he believes with our guidance and support.

My husband and I are teaching our son to listen, to discern, to ask questions, and to try to determine what is a fact and what is an opinion. He and his classmates have been learning about that as well. And, they have been writing opinion pieces to learn how to present their argument.

Facts do exist and were a part of articles that I wrote as a reporter. We would include the who, what, when, where, and why. Sometimes we also included how, but these articles were clearly different than the opinion pieces or editorials.  Today there is a blurring of that.  I only hope that we can do research to determine which is which.

What are your thoughts on this topic?  Does it matter to you?  It certainly does to me, as you can tell from writings such as this. I will continue to stand up for what I feel is important and what I believe in.  And I will do it with respect for others who I disagree with. I hope that you will as well.

On Freedoms and Our New President

governmentSince the new president was sworn in, I have been told to get over my opinion.  In addition, I have read postings screaming at people for not respecting him, fussing for not supporting all that he says and does, told to not hate on him, and to give him a chance.

Okay, I get that and I understand where these people are coming from. On the other hand, I was taken aback at being talked to this way and reading these postings.  I am a calm and normally quiet person.  I don’t like being talked to like a child by people who aren’t my elders or my parents or other family member.  I also don’t like being told how to think and what to believe and I never have.

I do not hate our new president.  Instead, I pray for him and all of our leaders.  I pray that they will discern what is best for all of our citizens and be respectful of all of us.  I also pray they will lead us with integrity and values of all Americans, not just those who elected them.  And I question him, what he says, and what he does, as I always have with our leaders.

Disagreeing with our leadership is not being disrespectful or hateful.  It is exercising our rights as citizens of this great country of ours.  During President Obama’s eight years, he was regularly mocked, told he was a liar, had his citizenship and religion questioned for years, and people criticized him every day.  So, why is it suddenly wrong to question and disagree with President Trump?  I don’t understand.

I am not saying that I agreed with all that Obama did, but overall I liked him.  I questioned some things but thought he was fair and took all citizens into account.  I want our new president to be a great president and do the best for our country.  I want him to work with other countries to maintain peace and still protect us.  It doesn’t have to be one or the other, in my opinion.

I wonder if he understands how the United State Government works or if he cares. I only mention this because of what has transpired over the past few weeks – not to be hateful or disrespectful.  There are three branches of government with equal but separate powers.  Our founding fathers set up the government to prevent the consolidation of power to one person functioning as a king or emperor.  (Note: This image is from Power Point clip art.)

This is not his company anymore where he can fire any person at will.  This is the United States of America with an array of amazing and very different people.  This is not a reality show but real life.  And, real life is messy and full of problems, arguments, free wills, disagreements, as well as love and respect and finding a way to work together for the betterment of our friends, our family, and strangers.

I want Mr. Trump to stop bashing those who disagree with him.  I want him to tell the truth.  I want him to not insult other world leaders but instead find ways to work with them.  I want him to know that he cannot always get his way but can compromise to come to something that is best for our nation and our citizens.

Too many people now believe that compromising is to be avoided at all costs.  Instead, it could be the way we can work together again.  It worked when Reagan was President and I think that it could again, if our leaders are willing.

I want him to stop saying one thing one week and then the total opposite two weeks later and trying to blame others or the media for what was directly quoted.  I want him to realize that his words have weight and should be thought through.  I want him to listen to and consider views other than his own.  I want him to realize he isn’t the only one in the room with a good idea and something to contribute.

I want him to respect others if he demands and expects respect.  Respect has to go both ways.  It is time to stop focusing on crowd sizes, polls, and numbers and get to the business at hand for ALL citizens.  Just because a poll or news report doesn’t agree or say what you want, it doesn’t mean it is a lie or false journalism.  Different opinions show that people use their own brains to decide what they think and what they believe.  It is the First Amendment at work.

Let’s face it, that amendment is hard to live with but needs to be protected, upheld, and if needed, studied.  As much as we have a right to speak our mind, so do others who we totally disagree with.  I as a Christian have as much right as those of any and all other faiths.  And you know what else?  Even though I may not agree with them or them with me, they deserve my respect if I want it in return.

Also, the media has the right and duty to report the news, ask questions, investigate, and not be the mouthpiece for the government.  This is a democracy with a free media and that must stand.  In countries where the press is controlled by the government, there is usually much less freedom for the people.

We are not children to be scolded and told what to do.  I am tired of this trend as well.  I am a grown woman, married with one child.  I am a high school graduate, a college graduate, a former journalist, and now writer and editor.  I am a moderate independent who has voted for both Republicans and Democrats.

I am an American who loves our country and our freedoms.  I am an American who has a voice and a vote.  I want the best for our country and am sure that we all do.  I hope and pray that we can come together to do just that.

My Civics Class

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I was in 9th grade, I had the opportunity to take the best class — Civics. It was team taught and all about the American Government. I learned a lot and over the past two weeks have realized that our leaders of today and our citizens could benefit from this class.

We the students were taught by two amazing men who also coached.  They let us do everything that you normally just read about.  So, it stuck with all of us.  Anyone who took this course learned so much and was, I think, the better for it.

In our Civics community, we first were immigrants to the United States.  We wrote about ourselves and had to go through Citizenship class.  We came to the class with new eyes and respect for this amazing country with so many freedoms.

We then chose jobs, discussed and filled out tax returns, and decided how much we earned from our job. If we had a family, we had to take care of a raw egg and treat it as a child.  We learned about the taxes that are paid before you get your salary and how the IRS works.

We also held a Presidential election, had a convention or two (I don’t remember), and voted for our candidate.  Thankfully there wasn’t too much mud being slung around.  At least I don’t remember it. Then the swearing-in.

We learned that there are three branches of government since our founding fathers didn’t want a king or queen in charge of the new world  This is what is great and unique to America.  We have the executive branch (the President), the legislative branch (Congress), and the judicial branch (the Supreme Court).

All three have specific roles and compliment each other. At least they are supposed to. The President is not in charge of everything and cannot change everything.  We have checks and balances in place so one person cannot control it all.  I for one am thankful for that and hope it never changes. I just wish that our current leadership realized this fact.

I don’t remember how we studied the legislative branch but seems that we wrote laws and discussed and debated them.  We also had to argue a case before our Supreme Court.  Some argued for what they believed in and others argued for things that they didn’t.  It was a great learning tool to learn about something that was different from our own belief and to discover that there is merit in another side of an argument.

We also had a court case with eye witnesses.  What was amazing was that many people recalled different facts about the crime, as often happens in real life. This is often hard to work with for those in the courts and those working to convict criminals.  As I wrote about last week, it is our own unique perspective that is part of what we see and pay attention to.

This class meant the world to me since we were right in there doing things as adults do them in the real world.  I only wish now that our adults would take their rolls and positions seriously and realize how important our country is.  Our freedoms are amazing and so special and not to be removed.

I wonder how much of what I learned in Civics class will continue to be how our country operates.  I hope and pray that it all will.  And, I will do my part to ensure that it continues on as it should for our son and his generation.  I will vote, I will write, I will discern and I will think about what is being said and done.  I hope that you will do the same.