Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

February 12, 2013

Perhaps it’s time to shift focus to First Amendment

Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — For the past two months the nation's attention has been  almost exclusively focused on the Second Amendment to our nation's Consti-tution which  gives all Americans the right to keep and bear arms.  Written in 1789, just six years after the end of our Revolutionary War the Amendment was a valid strategy to assure  that each American household owned at least one black powder, smooth bore musket which  could be  readily available to aid the state's militia during an emergency.  

That strategy  worked.  It prevented foreign monarchs from taking control of our nation during its young formative years and, it also gave those states, not yet comfortable with the idea of a  central government, some feeling of self-control.   

Since 1789 America has evolved and matured.   Today our armed forces employ high-tech, sophisticated battlefield wea-pons including a new generation  of guided missiles, unmanned drones, and deep space satellite communications systems, all of which are backed up by America's huge nuclear arsenal.  

Weapons that ordinary Americans may legally purchase these days are long obsolete on the battlefield.   

The original military need for each citizen to arm themselves for battle no longer exists.   

As America's military power grew so too did American's individual civil rights.  Recall that in 1789 neither the  Con-stitution nor the Bill of Rights granted  all Americans the right to vote.  

That right was reserved for a select few.  Not until the ratification of the 14th and 15th Amendments were all men in America granted the right to vote.

Not until 1920 were America's women granted that same right and not until the ratification of the twenty-sixth Amend-ment did  all Americans, eighteen or older gain that right.   

Today America not only has the largest military force in the world to address foreign threats,   we also have the ballot box where all Americans can use their vote to control politicians abusing their power.   

Perhaps it's time our elected officials shift their focus to the First Amendment.

 That was the one which guaranteed all Americans the freedom of peaceful assembly be it in a classroom, a  neighborhood theater, or even on a yellow school bus.


                    Terry Thompson