First Amendment?

I swore to myself that I wouldn’t post anything about the Don Imus flap. I’m sick and tired of hearing about it. Everyone’s talking about it, and there is a lot of misinformation being spread concerning this situation. One piece of gross misinformation is so abundant, that I am forced to break my oath, and make a posting about this situation.

I don’t need to take the time to explain the full situation to you. I’m sure that you’ve heard about it everywhere! But, offensive things were said, apologies were made, race-baiters came out of the woodworks…you know…the usual.

But, now Imus has had his show cancelled by MSNBC and has been fired by CBS. Here’s the point I want to make.

Talking heads everywhere are repeating the same line:

Free speech issues abound in all of this.”

That quote was made by Diane Sawyer. But, the exact same message has been expressed by many others. That shining beacon of intelligence, Rosie O’Donnell, had this to say:

“But the point of the story is, if it impedes on free speech in America, democracy is at stake. Because democracy is based on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. So we really have to worry about that in this country

But it’s not a freedom if you outlaw certain words or thoughts, because then the thought police come and then before you know it, everyone’s in Guantanamo Bay without representation.”

We have people everywhere screaming that this is a matter of “free speech.” While it is true that the freedom of speech is one of the major foundations for a free society, it is important to understand what that right actually entails.

It is an inalienable right. We do not possess it because our Government "gives" us that right. We possess is because of the simple fact that we exist. The First amendment, and the American Government are given the responsibility of PROTECTING that right. They exist to protect our rights. They do not GIVE us that right.

With that said, the first amendment of the constitution outlines how that right is to be protected. Let’s look at what it says:

“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…”

If you remember your 6th grade grammar class, what is the subject in that sentence? I’ll give you a hint. It is the first noun. In fact, it is the first word. CONGRESS.

In essence, the Government shall make no laws that can take away any aspect of your right to speak your mind. It refers to a prohibition against the Government.

IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH A PRIVATE EMPLOYER! When you work for an employer, they make the rules. If they determine that you have diverged from those rules, they have the option to fire you. This has nothing to do with your freedom of speech. The Government is not impeding upon your freedoms. Therefore, the First Amendment doesn’t apply.

CBS was Imus’s employer. They determined that he diverged from what they consider to be appropriate broadcasting. They took action.

Now, you can certainly make the argument that they enforce that policy unevenly. They may let certain broadcasters slide with their inappropriate content, while taking serious action against another. If that is your point, then you have an argument against the employer’s policies.


For the next few days, listen to the continuing coverage of this case. I’m sure that there is a lot more in store for us. Listen to the people that consider this a first amendment issue.

Those individuals don’t have a single clue what they are talking about.

P.s. Also, listen to the numerous people that refer to America as a “Democracy.” We are not a Democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic. There is a big difference.


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