First Amendment Rights

Adlai Stevenson is one of my heroes.  I’m sure you remember him (well, probably if you are an American).  He was the Democratic nominee for president in 1952 and 1956 and ran against Ike.  Now, that was a tall order — running against the guy who led the Allied Troops in World War II.  So really, Adlai was a bit of a sacrificial lamb.

But he had a heart and a spirit and he didn’t take bull from anyone.  And he repelled bull with finesse.

Stevenson was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations during the Cuban Missile Crisis and famously asked the Soviet Ambassador to explain why missiles were being put into Cuba.  When the Soviet Ambassador, Valerian Zorin, didn’t respond, Stevenson famously responded:

“I am prepared to wait for my answer until Hell freezes over.”

Stevenson was the sort of man who made up the Pre-Reagan government, actually.  The Best.  The Brightest.  The Most Articulate.  Smart folks who made the government work.  Who made our government the envy of the world.

Now, I’m not in Adlai’s class.  Nope, I’m not even close.  But as a concerned citizen, I feel compelled to watch what is happening and call out injustice when I see it.  I call a lie, “a lie.”  And shout to the rooftops when I see the bullshit that passes for public discourse coming from the GOP and its evil twin, the Tea Party.

You see, I really love my country.  I am a liberal Democrat and proud to be one.  And you know what?  I am angry.  And vocal.  I also take full advantage of my First Amendment right to Free Speech.  Now remember, I live near Washington, DC.  And I pay attention.  That’s important.

I see a lot of folks in and around government who believe it is their duty to make sure that President Obama fails.

Now think about that.  There truly are powerful people in the GOP who believe that the GOP is more important than the country.  That what they believe is more important than what the voters (YOU AND ME!) chose.  That the country can go to hell as long as the result is that they will get more power.  More money.  More, well who cares what else they’re looking for.

Yes, it’s true.  On January 20, 2009, the night Barack Obama was inaugurated, a group of Republicans meet and decided that, rather than giving the new president their backing to help the country, that — nope.  They weren’t going to go along with the mandate of the people of the United States.  Nope.  They would impede Obama in every way they could.  Invalidate him.  That way the GOP would retake the House of Representatives in 2010 (they did) and maybe the Senate too in 2012.  Paul Ryan was there at that dinner.  Yup.  A fine group of patriotic Americans.

Now think about that.

They didn’t give Obama a chance to succeed or to heal the country.  More importantly, though, they didn’t give the American people a chance.  Because by electing Obama, people chose his ideas, his plans, his hopes.  The People rejected those of the GOP.

Nevertheless, the power brokers of the GOP banded together to  stamp their feet and say:  “I don’t care if the American People decided that your way is what we should try.  WE SAY NO.

And you know what?  They’re doing it again!  Yup it’s true.

Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has already stated publicly that even if Obama wins a second term, the GOP will not cooperate with him.

Can you say “gridlock”?  Sure, I knew you could.

So, when things like this happen, well, I get mad.  I get angry.  And I make my feelings known.  I have a platform.  I have a soap box.  I have a blog.  And while I will try to write about politics with humor, sometimes, dammit, it will be in anger.  Like tonight.

Because there is a hell of a lot to be angry about.

Take for example the latest example.

Saturday in Virginia, Myth Romney implied that President Obama, should he be re-elected, was planning to take the word “God” off our currency.  Off our money.


Romney made it up.  Completely out of that whole cloth his underwear is made of.

Yes, this is the same guy who chose Paul “Sure, Vouchers for Senior Citizens is the best idea since sliced bread” Ryan as his running mate.

The same Myth Romney who went Birther on us all a week or so ago when he commented that he was in Michigan and nobody was asking for his birth certificate.  Ho ho ho, Mitt.  Good try at a joke.  Try another next year.  Maybe that joke will work.  Maybe that joke will be funny.

[Now I’m going to digress here a bit.  Because the whole Birther issue just makes me want to scream.  It points out the complete and total ignorance of those who insist that Obama was born in Kenya and that his Hawaiian birth certificate is a hoax.

Do these folks even realize that in order to be an American Citizen by birth and therefore qualify to be president, you have to be born to an American Citizen.  Yup.  It’s true.  The fact that Barack Hussein Obama’s mother was an American entitles him automatically to American Citizenship.  And she could have given birth on the moon; her son, Barack Obama would still be an American Citizen.  By birth.  The same as John McCain, who was born in Panama.  The same as George Romney, Mitt’s Dad, who was born in Mexico and who also ran for President.]

There has been much ballyhoo on the nets, in the press, on the TV about folks wanting us all to play nice and just get along.

No.  Sorry.  I am not going to play nice with the folks I think have damaged my country.  I would not play nice with folks who tried/succeeded in burning down my house; who killed a friend or family member.  So I am not going to play nice and polite with folks who have destroyed our economy, undermined our willingness to work together to solve problems, and the pride that made the American Dream a reality.

Nope.  Not gonna do it.

The folks who ask for that often tend to be folks who don’t want their opinions questioned or challenged, or folks who don’t want to pay enough attention.

I have a voice.  I have a First Amendment Right to voice it.  And I plan to us it.

So, as my hero Adlai Stevenson would have said:

If the Republicans will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.

*     *     *

Other wonderful quotes from Adlai:

  • Freedom rings where opinions clash.
  • A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.
  • A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular.
  • A hungry man is not a free man.
  • I don’t want to send them to jail. I want to send them to school.
  • Freedom is not an ideal, it is not even a protection, if it means nothing more than the freedom to stagnate.
  • We have confused the free with the free and easy.
  • I believe that if we really want human brotherhood to spread and increase until it makes life safe and sane, we must also be certain that there is no one true faith or path by which it may spread.
  • Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse.
  • Saskatchewan is much like Texas- except it’s more friendly to the United States.
  • As citizens of this democracy, you are the rulers and the ruled, the law-givers and the law-abiding, the beginning and the end.


Filed under Campaigning, Criminal Activity, Elections, Global Warming, Gun control, Health and Medicine, History, Humor, Hypocrisy, Politics, Stupidity

51 responses to “First Amendment Rights

  1. mmm …. when will ‘patriotic’ democrats stand up against the democrats who are ruining this country?

    or is the party more important than the country?



    • Elyse

      It was not the democrats who met the night Barack Obama was elected (by 53% of the people) and made a pact to ensure that they would not compromise and would do all they cold to make him fail. that goes against the voters and what they elected.

      I am proud to be a Democrat.

      But I’m working on a post that tells the story of how I might have gone the other way. Stay tuned.


  2. This is the sort of information that needs to be repeated everyday. The lies, fears and straight up insanity is so out of control, but honestly what scares the crap out of me more than anything….PEOPLE BELIEVE IT!


    • Yup. Joseph Goebbels at his finest:

      “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Full quote found here:


  3. Shout it from the mountain tops, sister. I share your frustrations and am glad that people like you have soap boxes and are willing to man them. (Hey isn’t this October the 60th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis? My dad was on one of the ships in the blockade, the Charles P. Cecil, a destroyer. His ship tracked one of the Russian subs that tried to run the blockade for 36 hours until they finally had to surface for air and turn back.)


  4. Great quotes by Adlai Stevenson.


  5. GOF

    Well done Elyse…..and I am old enough to remember Adlai so thanks for the list of quotes.


  6. BRAVO! I don’t want to play nice about this either. Yesterday a friend emailed me a piece that she said was honestly true. It said Obama was going to take our guns away and if we did not give them up we would be SHOT.Tell the National gun and rifle Asso. that and watch them hiss and scream. Where do they get this crap? I am ashamed to say she is a lemining that will go over the cliff for any silly cause. Does logic ever enter their picture. I told he that she was letting the Republican party control her with unreasonable fear. I said more but I wont repeat it here. You can imagine!


  7. That a way Elyse! On two occasions I have stated to a GOP friend who likes to boast his opinion, that I blame the Republicans for intentionally obstructing an economic recovery for their own political gain … and on both occasions, he said nothing!

    By the way, leave the country and avoid political BS for two weeks was wonderful.


    • It is always hard to argue with folks who have the facts on their sides. Unless you lie. And that is, of course, what they’re doing.

      Welcome back, Frank. I missed you!


  8. Elyse, another well-articulated post. I agree with you and admire your feisty willingness to express your views and take whatever heat you might get.

    Just want to say that my reluctance to do the same has nothing to do with not wanting my opinions challenged or not paying attention to the issues plaguing our nation and politics “as usual.” I am not prone to jump into a fight. Even if someone burned down my house, I don’t think I’d go after that person. If someone hurt someone I cared about, well, that’s when I get a bit more aggressive, but, even my version of aggression is nowhere close to most people’s definition. 😐

    With the exception of calling Romney “Myth” (which was creative), I didn’t find anything in this post that smacked of incivility. You expressed yourself and did it in a way in which Stevens would be proud. I admire that. I really do. You speak for many of us who share your feelings but can’t articulate them as well as you do. At least that’s how I feel.


    • Thanks, Lorna,

      I didn’t mean to imply that everybody should be ranting the way I am. Obviously, we all have 1st Amendment rights — we should all be writing what we want to write. That’s what it is all about. I appreciate your reading and commenting on these pieces. I don’t expect you to turn around and write one too! (Although do feel free to do so!)

      This piece came about after hearing one too many calls for “civility.” I try not to be uncivil, try to put my POV out there with humor when I can. But I am tired of some folks telling me to play nice when, in fact, their side is doing such deep and lasting damage to the country. And they are enabling that damage. That’s when I see red. (And hopefully that red will not be in the White House or in the majority in the House or Senate as of November!)


  9. “Nope. Not gonna do it.” Come on…why didn’t you go all “wouldn’t be prudent” with it? LOL

    Presidential elections are important, but most people fail to realize they need to focus MORE on the Representatives and Senators they elect! THEY, as you pointed out, are the ones that can either facilitate or block progress.


    • Well, I did consider commenting on how Romney “misspoke” when he said that Obama would take “God” off our money … That is part of the problem isn’t it. Nobody says “HE LIED” They say “he erred” “his facts aren’t backed up” “according to everybody and their brother this is incorrect.” They are lying. Period. They should stop. They should be called on it.

      And yes — elections matter. Not just the presidential ones. The Senate races are going to be really important this year. But really, ALL elected offices are — because that’s where a lot of these neanderthals start — in state legislatures.

      I love your new gravitar!


  10. John Erickson

    Right on the mark, Elyse. Can you believe that there was a right-wing (supposedly not GOP-approved) commercial running here in Ohio a month or two ago, that whined about Obama’s failings and concluded with “And we STILL haven’t seen his real birth certificate”?! 😯
    Stevenson was a great man, from a generation of politicians who cared for the country first, and their pockets MUCH later. I read and learned about him in school, as his family is very interwoven in the Illinois political scene, and will ALWAYS remember that great moment when he faced down the Russians in the UN. He and his family’s accomplishments are Illinois legend.
    He was one of a political “greatest generation”. Pity they seem to have died off, leaving us with the current crop of chaff.


    • Wow, John, I hadn’t heard about that commercial — I’m surprised. The birthers make me crazy. Such stupidity. Such ignorance.

      I am glad you remember Stevenson (and his family). Yes, he was an impressive man.

      There are still good men and women in government. (I ranted about this above to Guap). We need to get rid of the ignorant folks and elect more enlightened folks. And nobody should be allowed to drink the tea 😉


  11. I don’t think anyone would disagree (publicly) with the sentiments of the Adlai quotes.
    I think an awful lot of the problem is that people are uneducated, or, more accurately, incorrectly educated, and get their information from untrustworthy sources (available on both sides).

    And I feel as strongly about the lying as you do. But couldn’t express it near as eloquently.


    • You don’t think Mitt and Paul would disagree with Stevenson? I bet they would!

      You’re right that people are incorrectly educated — they lack critical thinking and a sense of history. They don’t remember when the government worked because for 30 years, thanks to Reagan, they’ve been told that “The Government IS the Problem.” And then Reagan and every Republican since has put numb-nuts in office to prove their point.

      Ahhhhhhhhhh (how is THAT for eloquence???!)


  12. Yes and more please. I am sick of the lies. I am sick of the media covering everything as a he-said/she-said story rather than calling people on their bullshit. I am sick of greed and people never having enough billions and those same billionaires cutting programs that help the most vulnerable. Keep going.


    • That’s the perfect way to phrase it, Speaker7 — the media does portray everything as he-said/she-said, “oh they’re all the same.” No they are not (as I ranted above, as a matter of fact).

      Thanks for the vote to keep ranting, too. I have been hard pressed to do anything else lately!


  13. You say it well. I love the way you summarized this!


    • Jodi,
      I’m afraid that your comment got lost in translation — for nearly two weeks it sat in my spam folder. So sorry!

      Thanks for visiting my blog and for your nice comment.


  14. Love this and your Birther explanation is fantastic! Why aren’t more people like you in politics? 😉


    • Glad you like it, Mom. The birther issue makes me crazy because everytime someone brings it up it shows that they are (1) ignorant of the Constitution they claim to love and (2) bigots. If only the requirements for citizenship for office were found in the 2nd Amendment; then they’ know it?

      I think that the microscope of modern politics scares way too many good people off. People are flawed, and who wants to have their inner most secrets exposed on national TV? Who can have a life that way? Look at Kennedy. Look at Clinton. Look at Eisenhower — none of them, all fine men and excellent presidents, could have withstood the scrutiny.

      Me, I wouldn’t want to be on National TV everytime I get pissed off and start ranting!


  15. Good for you! It is so important for progressive voices to be heard! I share your passion, and your anger. It’s time to be angry. Its time to be royally pissed. But its also time to share some of that anger, I think, with the Democratic Party for its failure to stick to its progressive roots. Time to ask THEM to speak like Adlai and like you.


    • Thanks, Moms. I agree — we need to work together to get the progressive voice heard. I think the fact that the Democrats made the convention about wanting to work together was a good start!


  16. Thank you. I, too, am a fan of Adlai Stevenson and very much appreciated that aspect of this article. I also agree with the rest of your comments. It needs to be said over and over and over. Well done.


  17. Both sides are telling outrageous lies. That is about the only truth I can say about this election. When it comes to the 1st Amendment, however, I have a beef…As much as I am pro-choice, I find it egregious to force institutions like the Catholic church to provide free birth control to its employees against its religious teachings. In this country, we have easy access to inexpensive birth control, and therefore I find it even more obnoxious to violate the 1st amendment rights of institutions who represent over 25% of the people of the United States of America.


    • Laura,

      There is also a world of difference between the impact of the GOP’s lies — they started a war based on a lie for god’s sake! — and the impact of those of the Dems. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a Democratic whopper equal to birtherism; Medicare; death panels … the list goes on.

      As to your comment about the Catholic Church and birth control, well, you know, the Catholic Church wants it both ways. They want to be the CHURCH (and be tax-exempt) and they want to be a business. As a business they self-insure their workers. As the CHURCH, however, they are inserting themselves in our political discourse in a huge way, trying to sway our election. (Can you say “separation of church and state?) Why should they, since they choose to act as self-insurers, be allowed to deny coverage for anything that is legal in the US? Besides, there are lots of reasons for using contraceptives that have nothing to do with sex. They don’t cover other medicinal uses either. Birth control is legal in the US. Period.

      I think if they want Catholics to not use birth control, they need to become more convincing in their sermons.

      I wrote about this topic a while back:


  18. While I am trying to play nice but still get the point across, you have said everything that needs to be said!

    You are a hero!


    • Thanks, Val. And while we both know you are exaggerating a bit, well, I appreciate it anyway. You do realize, though, that your comment will be added to the D side in the “everybody does it” contest. I’m sure it will be weighted against the GOP’s desire to end Social Security!


  19. Ive noticed that, the GOP seem to HATE Obama, sure we all feel dismay when our party of choice does not win in the election, we all feel like the country will go to hell in a hand basket if our chosen candidate is not the one calling the shots.

    But there is a big difference between that disappointment and the hatred that spews from some of these people – wanting Obama and the democratic party to fail (no matter what it costs the country as a whole like you say) just so they can point the finger and say “I was RIGHT!” and whoop and holler at their ‘victory’.

    I don’t know how he can overcome such obstacles, I really don’t (why Ill never be president!) but I sincerely hope he wins, and that he shows them – both to stick it to ’em (the high schooler in me) and also for the benefit of the country that so desperately need it…


    • Hi Karyn,
      Welcome back!
      Thanks for your nice comment. They do seem to hate Obama. Is it because he is black? Because he is smart? Because he has gone a long way in showing Americans that GOP programs are destroying the country? I don’t know the weight of any or all of these factors. And truthfully, I don’t get why anyone would want to undermine our country. Shouldn’t we all be working together?

      Apparently not the GOP — the folks in government, that is. The voters, I think, simply buy the lies. Which is disheartening.


  20. Thank you! You are my new hero. If I had a million dollars I would make a TV commercial of this blog. I’d make sure it ran in all those popular right wing “news” shows.


    • Thanks Nancy! And thanks for backing me up on that other website last week!

      There is so much bull going around — so much of which says “Both Sides Do It.” There are degrees. But the totality of what the GOP is/has done with their lies is staggering.


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