There is an article in today’s edition of USA Today entitled, “Why the First Amendment still matters to students.”
It tells of Mary Beth Tinker, a pediatric nurse by profession, who has quit her job to tour the nation to promote kids health in another way.
Her belief is that is good for students health if they are allowed to speak up and school is a place where they want to be and where they have a voice.
The article goes on to tell of Ms. Tinker’s personal experience with her own First Amendment dispute which ended with a Supreme Court ruling that included the statement that students do not, “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”
If we were to apply that philosophy here, it might read, residents do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression as they enter the main gate.
Whatever the purpose of the lawsuits filed by the Foundation against me and the John and Jane Doe residents, be it as alleged by the Foundation to defend their reputation, or as some might believe to stifle dissent, the effect has been that dissent has been silenced.
The Blog has become want ads absent an Op-Eds page.
I share Ms. Tinker’s view that it is unhealthy for people not to have a voice. In our case I believe it is unhealthy for the residents and unhealthy for the community as a whole.
Let us not lose our voice.
Keep in mind, the First Amendment was not written to defend popular speech, it was written to defend unpopular speech.