Not only were those in attendance at last night’s meeting treated to a broad historical perspective on the First Amendment to the Constitution, they were also the recipients of that history in an entertaining, informative, and lively discourse between the audience and presenter Louis Petolicchio. Petolicchio serves as the head of the Education Team for the Constitutional Organization Of Liberty (COOL).
Petolicchio began by having someone from the audience read the text of the First Amendment:
‘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 the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’
He then parsed through those words and extracted the 4 main ‘freedoms’
1. Religion 2. Speech 3. The press 4. The right to assemble/petition for redress
The drafting of the Constitution brought forth 2 groups – the Federalists (supporters of a ‘federal’ constitution/central government) and the Anti-Federalists – those, including James Madison – who had reservations about a central government and its propensity to seek to increase its power. The upshot of the reservations held by the Anti-Federalists was the first ten Amendments – the Bill of Rights – created to reinforce the fact that the citizenry has basic rights which they retain unto themselves.
At its core, the First Amendment puts a wall between the federal government and the people by unequivocally restricting Congress – ‘Congress shall make no law…’ – from denying basic rights to the people. The language is concise, economical, and not open to misinterpretation.
In spite of that language and the restrictions contained therein, the First Amendment is under assault. The current trend toward political correctness seeks to weaken those basic rights.
According to Mr Petolichio, ‘Unless you are willing to fight for the first one (amendment) you might as well give up on the rest.’
As conservatives, are we willing to fight for the basic rights contained in the First Amendment ?
The meeting closed with a legislative update by Representative Fred Keller who briefed the audience on the current situation with unfunded pension liability for state employees.
SVC National Debt Tracker
Debt at Beginning of Meeting $ 16,737,172,204,888
Debt at End of Meeting 16,737,169,382,194
Decrease in Debt during the Meeting $ 2,822,694
Check the SVC Website for announcement about August meeting.