The Senate Stands Up To The Bully …

“We swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution, including the First Amendment. Today, every senator upheld that oath by sending a message that we support the First Amendment, and we support the freedom of the press in the face of these attacks.” – Senator Brian Schatz, 16 August 2018

We should not need a Senate resolution to declare that the free press is not “the enemy of the people”.  It is rather akin to needing a Senate resolution to declare that parents should not beat their children to death, or men should not sexually abuse women.  It is already the damn law!  The U.S. Constitution protects the free press, so why do we need a Senate resolution to acknowledge the law?  Why?  Because we have a buffoon instead of a president who has, for 71 years, gotten what he wants by bullying, and he thinks he can still do that in the White House.

press-enemy-NixonSo, while we should not need the Senate to confirm that the press is not the enemy of the people, it is comforting to know that the Senate unanimously voted to confirm, for the sake of the madman in the Oval Office and his blind-faith followers who hang on his every word.

“Resolved, that the Senate affirms that the press is not the enemy of the people; reaffirms the vital and indispensable role that the free press serves to inform the electorate, uncover the truth, act as a check on the inherent power of the government, further national discourse and debate, and otherwise advance the most basic and cherished democratic norms and freedoms of the United States; and condemns the attacks on the institution of the free press and views efforts to systematically undermine the credibility of the press as an attack on the democratic institutions of the United States; and it is the sense of the Senate that it is the sworn responsibility of all who serve the United States by taking the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States to uphold, cherish, and protect the entire Constitution, including the freedom of the press.”

The resolution mentions a number of former leaders who have spoken on behalf of freedom of the press:

  • Benjamin Franklin in 1722 wrote, ‘‘Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech.’’;

  • Thomas Jefferson in 1786 wrote, ‘‘Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.’’;


  • James Madison in 1789 introduced the freedom of the press in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution of the United States;


  • James Madison based the freedom of the press on the Declaration of Rights of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which in 1776 declared, ‘‘The freedom of the Press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by despotic Governments.’’;


  • President Ronald Reagan proclaimed August 4, 1985, as Freedom of the Press Day, stating that ‘‘Freedom of the press is one of our most important freedoms and also one of our oldest.’’;


  • President Reagan also said, ‘‘Today, our tradition of a free press as a vital part of our democracy is as important as ever. The news media are now using modern techniques to bring our citizens information not only on a daily basis but instantaneously as important events occur. This flow of information helps make possible an informed electorate and so contributes to our national system of self-government.’’;


  • Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in International Soc. for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. Lee, 505 U.S. 672 (1992), ‘‘The First Amendment is often inconvenient. But that is beside the point. Inconvenience does not absolve the government of its obligation to tolerate speech.’’;


  • The United States Supreme Court also affirmed the history and intent of the freedom of the press in New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), stating, ‘‘In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.’’;


  • Tyrannical and authoritarian governments and leaders throughout history have sought to undermine, censor, suppress, and control the press to advance their undemocratic goals and actions; and


  • The United States, including the long-held commitment to and constitutional protection of the free press in the United States, has stood as a shining example of democracy, self-government, and freedom for the world to emulate.

That this resolution was passed unanimously without a single dissenting vote even among the boot-lickers on the right side of the aisle, speaks volumes.  It tells us that even Mitch McConnell and all the rest are disturbed by Trump’s denigration of the press, and that they understand that the press is the only thing standing between a ‘president’ and a dictator.  However, it should be noted that this is only a non-binding resolution, meaning it does basically nothing more than send a message to Trump & Co saying that the Senate supports the free press and does not agree with Trump calling them the enemy of the people.  The law already exists in the form of the Constitution … we just need Congress to enforce that law upon the president.

41 thoughts on “The Senate Stands Up To The Bully …

  1. Dear Jill,

    For once, the GOP in the US Senate did something decent while standing up to their standard bearer. But I can’t help but be suspicious that there’s a little in it for them, too. After all it is election season and they do want some good press. It doesn’t hurt that they stood up as defenders of the free press.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, thus far he has been remarkably silent on this one, although he has had plenty to say about his ‘ego-trip’ military parade being canceled, and is currently blaming the Mayor of D.C. Oh yes, and he slammed Andrew Cuomo. And the press. And Bob Mueller. And … well, suffice it to say that he has plenty of people to yell at! He probably just hasn’t figured out who to blame for the Senate finally finding their cojones! 😉 Good to see you … I’ve missed you!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jill, this does make a statement that is needed with this President, but with few exceptions has not been needed with other Presidents. If I were a reporter, I would ask Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, “why do you think the Senate felt the need to act? And, how do you reconcile the President’s attacks on the media with a 100 to 0 vote? ” By the way, the President is on the side of the zero,

    Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with your questions for Sanders … I’m sure she would deflect & spin as always, but it’s good to hold their feet to the fire sometimes. Oddly, Trump has been silent on this! Oh, that’s right, he’s too busy picking on Omarosa, Mueller and now Cuomo!

      Like

  3. Trump is truly a menace to freedom and democracy. It is truly scary how many people in the US think he is right. They all should be packed up and forced to live in a real dictatorship for a year and then see what kind of tune they sing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I agree, and in fact I’ve said much the same. And those who grouse and grumble about not having everything they want … I’ve suggested they go spend one year in Iraq or Afghanistan, then come tell me how awful the U.S. is!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Yep … I told you that in this era of alternative facts and alternative dictionaries, the word ‘freedom’ has taken on an entirely different meaning, such as in “religious freedom” which has nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with discrimination. Sigh.

          Liked by 1 person

      • It actually doesn’t surprise me that both parties were in lockstop passing this resolution. Despite the hero worship of Trump from the GOP base, most Congressional Republicans are only behind this guy to the degree that it is advantageous to their reelection campaigns, their legislative agenda and their ability to ensure a Supreme Court favorable to that agenda. They know what’s in the Constitution and most are intelligent and reasonable enough to understand the importance of the press. Thank God.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Quite so … I cannot imagine that a single one of them see him as anything more than a means to an end, for surely he is the most un-likeable president in the history of the nation. Yes, thankfully they do understand the importance of a free press, unless this was merely a ploy to put themselves in a good light prior to the mid-terms, as one reader suggested.

          Like

  4. I do like the strong wording of the resolution. It is timely and clear. But the buffoon of whom you speak will not be deterred, I suspect! A free press has rightly been called the :”fourth estate” and is essential for a balance in government, as Jefferson noted. But it is not the only thing standing between a president and a dictatorship: the courts are there, so long as they perform their duty!

    Liked by 2 people

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