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First Amendment

Why I'm proud to be an American

signingcon.jpg

A reproduction of a painting of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and others signing the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.Library of Congress

The First Amendment is my favorite Amendment. The Second one, not so much. It should be either thrown out or rewritten. Thrown out would be best. Funny how, if you go to NRA headquarters, the first four words, “A well regulated militia,” are left out. But, then, the NRA cares more about guns and gun manufacturers than they do about the average citizen and the well-being of America.

That I can say what I just said, and that you, in the comment section below, can respond (and, possibly, not in the kindest way to words that rile you), is why I am proud to be an American.

In terms of being an American, what is most significant is that the government can’t come after me because of what I say.

I have a great job. I give my opinion for a living on Fox News Channel and on Fox News Radio where I get to talk to the entire country—actually, the entire world, and the world talks back (again, not always with perfumed words). 

Besides the fact that my views are often out of sync with many of the viewers of the channel, the listeners to talk radio and likely, you,  if you’re reading this right now, nobody stops me from offering them. 

Of course, my employer can one day decide they’ve had enough of me, and that is their right (and that is why I’m happy my radio show is on at night, when the suits have left the building ;)).

But, in terms of being an American, what is most significant is that the government can’t come after me because of what I say. True, no employer is obliged to give me a platform; but regardless of where I get to spread my left-wing ideas, we live in a country where views, no matter what side they fall on, are not subject to government suppression.

President Obama should not be building upon President Bush’s mistakes and sending more troops to Iraq. 

We overreacted to 9/11 and started two wars we should not have started. 

We did exactly what the terrorists wanted us to do by emotional, impulsive reactions that bankrupted the country and wasted hundreds of thousands of lives. 

We should hang our heads shame for what we’ve done. America has historically injected ourselves into countries where we have no business and inspired much of the world to hate us.

We’ve created more terrorists than we’ve eliminated.

See? I’ve just said some things that likely rankle not only many of you, possibly, but also many in government who, were they officials in other countries, might actually come after me for daring to criticize them. We must never forget how precious that right is. Never should we try to shut someone down for an opinion that may be offensive, non-mainstream, or even off base.

Often, when I speak on, or write about, the First Amendment, I quote the late German Pastor and theologian, Martin Niemoller, who spoke out about the cowardice of German intellectuals after the Nazis rose to power:

“First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Thank goodness, “they” are not coming for any of us, regardless of our opinions, our religions, our sexual preferences, or for any other reason. God (or the diety of your choice, or none at all) bless America.

Alan Colmes is host of the "Alan Colmes Show" on Fox News Radio, the author of "Thank the Liberals for Saving America," and the publisher of alan.com. Find him on Twitter @alancolmes.