Dissent and petitions / by kevin murray

The 1st Amendment to our Constitution clearly states in part that it is: "….the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances," which is exactly what a government of the people, for the people, and by the people should be about.  That is to say, it is not the government's responsibility or certain representatives of that government to determine that certain dissent and petitions will not be permitted or allowed, whereas other orthodox or favored petitions will be aided and abetted.  This government essentially should allow an open forum of ideas, conversations, and debates to be part and parcel of this country, of which, by doing so, makes for a more vibrant and inclusive society, as opposed to one that deliberately is set on stifling inconvenient dissent.


Of course, not everything that people say is really worth listening to, but they have a right to say it, and if there is an audience for it, so be it.  No doubt, some of those things being written or talked about by certain people, is of no real merit, but then again that is also true of numerous things that the government wishes to promulgate, with the caveat being that the government has the power and tools to make their voice heard; whereas, the people, for the most part are limited in their budget, limited in their time, and limited in their voice to actually being heard.


When those that have a different viewpoint and wish to petition the government, or to dissent against the government, are not permitted the means to do so, than the very things that may warn us, or that may improve us as a society, are being silenced, which may be of a real detriment to the country and the people as a whole.  While there are a few people that will change their viewpoint and their opinion about subjects of real import in a blink of an eye, in point of fact, most people do not; and hence, ideas that may not be popular now, that may be dismissed currently, may, at a future point be seen as not only being better but as being correct, and not only that, they were better and correct when first expressed.


The most important thing to recognize is that those that are in power, have a tendency to not want things to change, because their position is rather comfortable, so then, they have a very strong incentive to keep things just as they are, primarily, so as to continue to benefit themselves, at the expense of others.  On the other hand, those that lack power, and/or have little voice, want what they are saying to actually be heard and contemplated, not only because they believe in what they are advocating, but also because they have little to lose, and possibly a lot to gain, not just for themselves but also for others.


When the government, or any entity, makes it their point that they will, either undercover, or out in the open, stifle all dissent, by whatever means that they can do so, and do not pay the price for such a violation of 1st Amendment rights, even claiming, that the majority supports such an action; then the country has effectively neutered its 1st Amendment, for the 1st Amendment right of the people to assemble, clearly means the people have the right of dissent, which is the right to think one's own thoughts and to thereby freely express them, which this government has not the right to interfere with.