Monday, February 18, 2008

Whom should supporters of the 1st Amendment vote for in this fall's presidential race?

What do Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain have in common? All three of them believe that the government should be able to ration the amount and timing of political speech during political campaigns.

Bradley Smith and his fellow first amendment activists are engaged in the highest form of patriotism. They are motivated not by the latest cult of personality to strut across the political stage, but by the enduring principles that led to the founding of this great nation.

What should a voter do if one takes the following words seriously?
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.
I realize that there are significant differences between John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on many political issues. But if the people of the United States lose the right to criticize our elected officials during election contests, or if we have these rights severely restricted, haven't we essentially accepted tyranny over liberty, fascism over freedom?

We are often advised to support a candidate with whom one agrees with more than the alternative candidate. But is it morally correct to support a candidate who wants to limit your Constitutional right not only to support or oppose his candidacy, but to support or oppose any candidacy now and in the future? Isn't the principle that underpins the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution more important than any single political candidate? Or are all political values negotiable?