America, the ship of state is being steered into very dangerous waters by Republican fanatics who are avowed enemies of democracy. Yesterday, House Speaker Paul Ryan demonstrated the attitude of the Trump administration and its lackeys in Congress toward the first amendment. Ryan has made no secret of his desire to completely defund Planned Parenthood. In response, supporters of Planned Parenthood brought a petition to Ryan’s Washington office with nearly 90,000 signatures, hoping to present it to the congressman. Before they arrived, Ryan was meeting with constituents. When the Planned Parenthood group showed up at his office, they were met by a locked door and a security team. Ryan didn’t accept the petition or meet with any of the PP members.
Trump and his loyalists have absolutely no respect for free speech or freedom of the press, two cornerstones of American democracy, and administration spokespeople (particularly Kelly Ann Conway) and The Donald himself, have routinely made hostile threats against people and media outlets that criticized the incoming President. The irony that everyone but Trump can see that this comes after eight years of virulent and racist right-wing attacks on Barack Obama.
The alarms being sounded about the Trump administration’s attacks on free speech and freedom of the press are not coming solely from left-wing pundits, but from media outlets as staid and mainstream as Newsweek. In a November article titled, “Donald Trump’s Threat to Press Freedom: Why it Matters,” the author writes, “With little more than two months before Trump takes the oath of office, the threat to the media — and the public’s right to know — is reality.”
The question is, how far will Trump go to try and silence his critics? This is not a rhetorical question. In an interview with a CBS Miami affiliate, Trump agreed with the statement that the First Amendment provides, “too much protection.” He said, “our press is allowed to say whatever it wants,” and vowed to try and change current laws to make it easier to sue media companies.
There's no question the Trump administration will work hard to circumvent the First Amendment to silence critics. It’s up to us, we the people, to make our voices heard loud and clear that freedom of speech and freedom of the press must be protected if we are to continue calling ourselves a democracy.