THE BLOG

Putting the First Amendment to Work

11/30/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

As an American, A Black American, a radio talk show host, and participant in social, and politics issues most of life, I find an interesting trend developing since the election of Barack Obama, as the 44th president of the United States of America. That trend is to treat President Obama with "preferential protection" based on his race. From national politicians to the average American, people are inserting their personal values about the issue of race, the definition of racism into the national debate of issues that face America. I think that their well-meaning gestures obscure the more important issue of discourse, dissension, discussion, and genuine concern about the direction our country is being directed under the Obama administration.

As a constitutional adjunct professor at The University of Chicago Law School, President Obama encouraged debate and discussion from varying points of view. I think it is important to remember that President Obama is not a religious deity, nor is he the Messiah. He is an American politician, elected to the office the President of the United States of America, and he put his pants on one leg at time like any other man. President Obama represents all Americans and our interests, and he should be held accountable for his conduct, whether we support his positions or not. He is my President, and I am proud of him, and wish him much success as an American. Does that mean that I agree with all of his ideas and actions? Not hardly, however, that is my right as a citizen of the United States of America.

For those of you who just got interested in politics, and those who forgot; In America, we have something called the first amendment of the constitution and it states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of to people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." It seems to me that this right is being impinged upon by members of U.S. Congress, past U.S. Presidents, the media, and the average citizen.

Over the last several weeks we've heard our national Democratic leaders make false, misleading and inflammatory statements about the conduct of peacefully assembled Americans in the protest of the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress. Speaker Pelosi and Senate Leader Reid have made false accusations about concerned American citizens calling them "Un-American," "hate-mongers," and other derogatory terms unfairly labeling Americans that are simply excerising their right to "peacefully assemble" and ask our elected officials for hard answers to their proposed legislation on health care, the financial industry, automotive industry and the two wars in the Middle East.

As Americans, we criticize and make fun of our president in verse, and the popular media of the day. If you disagree with a president that loves a good discussion, who is really Un-American or a racist. It is a sad day for all of us if we allow the issue of race to enter the debate of the most important issues facing our country in the last 75 years. President Obama is who he is; a Black American, and that will never change. He is interested in changing America in ways we all agree and disagree, but there will be a middle ground and that is where the American form of government excels above all others. Those of us who differ with Mr. Obama on the issues have our own solutions and recommendations about how to address the pressing issues of the day.

For the record, I personally like President Obama, however I have never agreed with most of his political views and proposed direction and legislation on the aforementioned issues. President Obama, was my state senator for eight years, my US Senator for four years, and now my president. I have rarely supported Mr. Obama positions and his agenda. This is not to be mean spirited, it is just that we have not ideologically paired, for lack of a better term.

There have been numerous attempts to silence my factual presentation of Barack Obama's legislative record in Springfield and Washington DC. It is often met by the voice(s) of Kumbaya and outdated civil rights rhetoric supported by illogical arguments. I have been outraged by several attacks on the president that I thought were out of bounds and crossed the line of political disagreement. I think the president has been given more than a fair shake in the press, on talk shows, and by most media commentators whether left or right.

We must be vigilant about criticizing the president and members of his administration, as well as elected officials on all levels of government. This is America, and in the Declaration of Independence the Fifth Amendment does offer protections to our life liberty and pursuit of happiness, and we cannot be deprived of any of them without due process of law.
So the next time you hear someone criticizing the politics and policies of the president, a congressman, a mayor, or another person; remember that they have the right to express themselves in a respectful manner because we are all citizens of the United States of America.

Best regards, and God Bless America,