I rarely repeat a column, and certainly not so quickly, but we have seen so many instances of the First Amendment not being understood and being under attack I felt this one was worthy of another look…
I can’t lay claims to being a constitutional scholar. Then again, neither can most attorneys I know. The same is certainly true for most legislators from any political side. I imagine it’s far less so for political activists with a cause. In fact, we have seen that in play in the Florida legislature and the United States congress far too often as legislators, feeling pressured by political correctness or powerful influence, turn their backs on the people in favor of those pushing a cause to the detriment of the citizenry as a whole.
And while I may not be that scholar of the constitution, I have spent most of my life being an arbiter of right and wrong. That sense was instilled in me by my parents who did their utmost to raise good children and responsible adults who did right by others. Ours was to do the right thing, for the right reasons all of the time.
I was also an avid sports fan who loved, first, playing the games and then learning how to officiate them. It was applying the rules as intended with fairness for both sides as the competition allowed each team’s strength and strategy to determine the outcome. My job was to ensure that those who broke the rules or committed an infraction were caught and the appropriate adjustment was made to correct an unfair advantage. It was a challenge for which I seemed to be designed.
It bled over into what would become my calling and occupation. I was a policeman. Decisions were made based on that underlying sense of right and wrong and the law as it applied to each situation. Awareness of the constitutional rights afforded every citizen was drummed into us at the WV State Police Academy. There was no more grievous infraction (other than betraying your oath and committing a crime) than to violate the rights of someone with whom you dealt under color of law. The penalties for that were and are severe.
Through that career I became much more politically aware and engaged in the issues of our time. I became more educated on that constitution and its application in daily life. When the law enforcement career was over my path took a turn to where those same principles apply. But it brought other obligations as well.
I needed to be informed, aware and concerned about our governments and the actions they take which impact our lives. I needed to form opinions and be able to share them in an articulate manner and to solicit and share those of others. I had no clue I would have been in talk radio, much less for longer now than I was that policeman. But, here I am.
And much like those days on the job as a cop, or the ones on a basketball court or baseball diamond, my opinions and decisions are out there for everyone to see, hear and scrutinize. I don’t mind, it’s been that way my whole life. My job is to be true to myself, honest with you and as fair as I can humanly be with those with whom I interact.
People disagree with me. That’s OK, I’m used to that. If they can point out actual error in my facts or reasoning I will reconsider my position, evaluate my stance and adjust it if that adjustment is warranted. If not, thanks for playing, but we disagree.
After all, isn’t that why we have a First Amendment?
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