Political crisis comes from lack of understanding of the first Amendment

To the editor:

I am interested in hearing columnist Donna Steele’s qualifications that make her an expert on constitutional law (“Democracy of liberty, laws need protection,” Dec. 19, A4.) Calling for a boycott or cancellation of a television program is a tactic as old as television used by those of all political leanings. How is that tactic suddenly bashing the First Amendment? Because she finds the post disagreeable, she refers to it as bashing the First Amendment. If anything, Ms. Steele is saying that the individual who made the post doesn’t possess the same right to state an opinion because Ms. Steele doesn’t agree.

As for relative moralistic view of someone being “ignorant” of the First Amendment, I give as examples Antifa and many college campuses (which tells me the most educated are the most ignorant of the 37 percent she refers to). Neither seem too interested in anyone’s right to speak viewpoints contrary to their own. In fact, recent events make it appear that they are willing to suppress opposing viewpoints by using violence while attempting to impose their own ideas.

She refers to a quote by Fareed Zakaria. He is a philosopher, journalist and author; he is not — that I’m aware of — a constitutional lawyer whose political leanings are well known. Because he is those things, I would challenge that all of the statements quoted are anything but unbiased.

Regarding “fake news,” the previous administration didn’t call it fake news, and the recipient of its wrath wasn’t CNN. They chose to call out Fox News and vilified them at every opportunity. Ms. Steele is correct that everyone should be protected under the law, including those who disagree, yet under the previous administration, we saw overwhelming evidence of the IRS targeting nonprofits because of their political leanings.

I totally support the concept of civil discourse. I also support the concept of intellectual honesty. The last paragraph of the article is intellectually dishonest.

Our democracy is not fragile. Nothing has changed except the person we elected. There still are three branches of government. Half of the country’s population feels wronged, and the country is doomed. Yes, half of the population felt wronged during the previous administration. In four years, half of the population will feel wronged again.

The political crisis described has existed successfully for 241 years. The only constitutional crisis I see is the intolerance of opposing speech and the willingness of groups that I mentioned earlier as well as others that I did not. No one should use violence and intimidation to stifle opinions that are not consistent with their own.

Jerry LeCount

Greenfield