The U.S. Constitution protects us | Letter

The first amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “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.”

The latter part of the amendment is one we rarely acknowledge but it is as important as all the other rights.

The question is: do we want to exercise our rights (in order to maintain our system of government) or do we want to toss them (out of fear)?

Remember we are not in a state of war nor has martial law been declared. Some advocate we stop making waves because it might hurt others people’s feelings.

Unfortunately, no matter what we do someone’s feelings will be hurt. I and many others feel betrayed when others try to shame us for taking action against something we feel is wrong.

Each of us should do our part in helping to maintain our freedoms. It needs to be said and understood some things are worth criticism, ostracism, imprisonment and even death. Even writing letters (no matter how disingenuous) is a fundamental part of our liberties.

However, to advocate we pass the job of maintaining our freedoms on to another is not the way to keep our freedoms but rather it is a way to lose them.

Some time ago a person running for office told the story of his imprisonment in a Vietnam camp. He said one method used in his torture was being shown film and newspaper clips of the numerous protests to the war. Being a little more astute than some he refused to let this bother him. He told his captors the system he was fighting for guaranteed people’s right to protest that for which they disagreed.

Finally, with the recent revelation of the Navy spying on private citizens, I would ask if the Navy protects us from the “bad guys” who or what protects us from the Navy? The answer: we and the U.S. Constitution protect us.

Jack Pedigo

Lopez Island