In the wake of the latest racist, nativist, and xenophobic comments by Donald Trump, I feel that he, and the American public, could benefit from a lesson on the First Amendment. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America not only gives us the right to free speech, but also freedom of religion, a free press, the right to peacefully protest, and petition our government against grievances. These five key components — all of which Trump has railed against in one form or another — make up some of the most sacred rights we have as Americans, and voicing dissent does not warrant “going back” to any ancestral homeland. This is a good thing for Trump as — by his logic — he would have been asked to leave as he was railing constantly against the state of the country before the 2016 election and in his own inaugural address (see “American carnage”).
Trump seems to forget that we do not live in a dictatorship where there can be no dissent against a supposedly all-knowing leader. Dissent and peaceful protest, along with a strong free press and freedom of speech, are what checks our politicians, holds them accountable, and keeps the American experiment as a democratic republic going. Lord help us if the demagoguery and petty, poisonous politics of Trump turn the American “shining city on a hill” into the flaming ash heap of history.
Michael J. Jacobsen