You know, in the past, regardless the president in power, it has always pretty much been a constant whine from all the many millions of gun lovers toting their many more millions of guns that their Second Amendment rights are under constant attack by a relentless blizzard of liberal, commie-shaped snowflakes… so their steady stream of bawling blather has always been received by me as nothing more than unintellig-ent/ible, self-flagellating noise.
But now, with our First Amendment rights under a for real attack by Trump and his pack of stooges, it pains me to have to assume that those same Second Amendment Peters who were constantly crying Wolf about losing their rights are now happily standing by, armed and ready, to support and even help facilitate our Wolf-in-Chief achieve his vicious autocratic goals.
I never could have believed, and still can’t, that we in the United States of America would ever have to be seriously concerned about seriously losing our First Amendment rights…
But, alas, here we are so very seriously concerned.
So concerned, in fact, that PEN America felt the need to publish an article entitled DEFENDING FREE EXPRESSION: A TOOLKIT FOR WRITERS AND READERS.
If you aren’t familiar with the freedom-defending organization, this is what PEN America is about:
PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.
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Here are some “bullet” points from the toolkit for our intellectual self-defense:
What are the telltale signs of an emerging autocracy?
Be on the lookout for a leader who:
- Condemns the press and limits its access
- Controls information by replacing a free press with media outlets he controls in order to corrupt public debate with one-sided coverage and disinformation
- Limits the freedom to gather peacefully
- Limits the freedom to criticize government and other public figures and discourages a diversity of views through intimidation or legislation
- Allows or promotes the use of government surveillance of citizens, including journalists
- Keeps political power and money in the family
- Fails to take responsibility for the consequences of his policies and decisions
- Limits transparency of government deliberations, decisions, and spending, making it more difficult for citizens to assess government actions and participate in civic life
- Builds fear of a common enemy and uses a state of emergency to justify exercising heightened power and tightening control over the citizenry
- Instructs the public not to worry
- Rebuffs the Constitution and/or the rule of law
- Limits participation in the political process
- Persecutes or ostracizes ethnic and religious minorities
- Punishes, eliminates, or marginalizes his enemies
- Surrounds himself with government appointees who share his views on limiting free expression rights and other core freedoms