Is our First Amendment on the endangered-species list?

During the last few decades, something very uncomfortable has been starting to take root in this country.  The change has been so gradual and insidious, however, that few of us paid close attention – until certain evidence began to emerge under the Obama Administration.

In the name of political correctness, I was personally beginning to feel that I could not say or write freely what I was really thinking.  This was happening in the United States of America where the First Amendment to the Constitution is the vehicle through which freedom of speech is guaranteed for every citizen.  Supposedly.

When I began to feel that it was in my best interest to keep my mouth shut among friends and family about my full support for Donald J. Trump as the 45th President, I knew this country had gone too far to the left.  I can assure you that if his opponent were to have won the election, this blog would never have been posted.  For those of you who are ready to jump to a conclusion about my political leaning, in my younger years, I used to vote for Democrats.  Today, I am an independent.

Typically, this type of invisible restraint on expression and unspoken uneasiness among people is common in countries that are controlled by dictators or theocratic leaders; or in old countries where there are existing taboos about which no one who grows up in that environment dares to utter.

Here is an example.  As many of you know, I grew up in Japan during the post-WWII period.  It has been nearly 45 years since I left the country.  It is possible that the situation may have changed somewhat for the better.  It is highly doubtful, however, that issues related to the rights of minorities, such as the Ainu, who are indigenous Japanese, for instance, are ever uttered by the rest of the society.  This is but one example of cultural taboos of which most Japanese dare not speak.

Most Japanese, when in public, do not say what they really think.  Culturally, this is not considered deceptive, however.  Rather, it is considered “polite” or “more appropriate” to not talk about the truth when the truth is unpleasant.  The only time people feel comfortable calling a spade a spade is when they can blame their bluntness on something other than themselves; alcohol, for instance.  In fact, there are two words that describe this dichotomy in Japan: (1) 本音 hon-ne and (2) 建前 tate-mae.  “Hon-ne” (whose literal translation is “true sound”) describes a person’s true feelings and desires.  “Tate-mae” (whose literal translation is “front of the building” or “façade”), on the other hand, describes the behavior and opinions one displays in public, contrary to what they really think.

Given such background with deep restraint on free speech, when I first came to the U.S.A. in 1972, I was astounded how people talked about issues of race so openly.  During the 1970s and 1980s, such issues were out in the open for a healthy debate among many Americans.  In my humble opinion, without a social environment which enables people to call a spade a spade, there is no progress to be made as a society.  Hands down, I applauded the U.S.A. for the incredible progress having been achieved on race relations through laws that had been enacted.  Today, as a licensed real-estate broker, adhering to the laws is of paramount importance.  In fact, breaking the rules would put one’s licensing status at risk.

Although already having been enacted, such laws were not quite so evident when I first moved into our neighborhood in Michigan in 1984, following a job offer from Chrysler.  Before closing on our house (where David and I still reside to this day), I read every word in the deed-restrictions document.  Somewhere within it said something along the lines of “No one other than whites are allowed in this subdivision.”  Coming from a country where I was never a minority, I was stunned.  I cried.  That was the moment when I first understood what it must feel like to be a minority in a country.  David, my Caucasian husband, quickly said, “That statement is illegal in America today and, therefore, not enforceable.  We both chose this location as the best place for our kids in terms of the school district.  So we’re going to live here.  And no one is going to stop us.”  With that, after the initial shock had subsided, I chose not to dwell on it. Knowing that federal laws are protecting my fundamental rights as a human being was good enough for me. This incidence gave me a glimpse into how the American society was changing for the better through laws being enacted – to welcome everyone who is here legally, regardless of race, religion, or national origin.

Then, also in 1984, came an incident involving the burning of an American flag.  In 1989, the Supreme Court of the United States of America gave a verdict that flag burning was protected by the First Amendment.  What!?  Seriously?

I could not believe that such a despicable act of disrespect for the symbol of this greatest nation on earth was to be protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Seeing that the flag burning took place outside of the Republican National Convention, in my humble opinion, this Supreme Court decision was the beginning of the liberals becoming emboldened to take liberty to say and do whatever they pleased against their political opponents. Under the Obama Administration, the very essence of what was meant to guarantee ALL citizens the First Amendment rights was being destroyed if one dared to disagree politically.

Political correctness – NOT freedom of expression – has been the name of the game under the Democratic Administration.  It may be premature on my part to post this but, it has come to my attention that YouTube has recently removed a conservative website, without notice to its owner, claiming copyright infringements.  YouTube, of course, is owned by Google, which is ubiquitous.  Are we, as a nation, already on an irreversible course?  I hope not…

I would be disappointed if concerned liberals cannot acknowledge how dangerous this country has become by their own hands.  The liberals have been very effective in influencing curriculum to brainwash our children and young adults through our school systems and universities.  Here is another glaring example of the monster that they have created: universities are caving to professors and students who refuse to listen to those who hold opposing views; in fact, they are downright hostile to them if political opponents dare show up at their campuses.  In effect, the majority of the universities in the United States are teaching students intolerance of those who think differently than themselves. Take note.  Intolerance is how tyranny starts in human communities.

Thanks to how the Founding Fathers had set up the political system, with the right leadership, this country has a chance to correct itself from such tyranny taking root.  Finally, someone of Donald J. Trump’s stature had the guts to break all the rules and shattered the notion that, as in much of the rest of the world, we, too, must be politically correct in the U.S.A.  I, for one, like those who call a spade a spade. It lets me know that our First Amendment rights are still alive and well.  As we await the inauguration of the 45th President, I am optimistic – albeit very cautiously – for the future of the country of my childhood dreams.




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