Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that didn’t commit suicide.
– John Adams, 1814
Anthony Breznican’s column “Hart’s Messina wrong man for leadership role” in the Weekender edition of The Signal published Sept. 23 was a reminder to me of how dangerous leftism is to the liberties we take for granted in this country.
Breznican’s focus is on Joe Messina, currently president of the William S. Hart Union High School District, and on views Messina has expressed in social media (apparently Facebook) and a self-published book. Breznican claims both are “disturbing acts.”
The columnist complains that in spite of those stated views, “the district has taken no action to censure or demand even an apology from him about his inflammatory remarks.”
Nor should they. This may come as a surprise to Breznican, but what a citizen says or does on his own time, as long as it’s legal, can’t be sanctioned by any governmental agency. It’s called the First Amendment. It’s not subject to the district’s approval or disapproval.
From what little I know of him, I happen to agree that at least some of what Messina says makes no sense. But if that were some kind of threshold, I can’t think of anybody in the Dem/socialist party who would be qualified to hold public office.
If that board tries to do anything, that’s the action of a government body reacting to, and taking action against, a person for exercising his or her right to express an opinion. Government doing so is exactly what the First Amendment prohibits.
Breznican goes on: “That’s what Joe Messina has done. He is harming the students and the district with these fabrications.”
Well, that’s Breznican’s opinion, and it’s only an opinion. Clearly, a lot of people don’t agree with him or Messina wouldn’t have been able to be elected. And at the next election, if other people share Breznican’s opinion, Messina won’t be re-elected. Right?
I think that Bernie Sanders is a Trotskyite communist, and his ideas and policies are insane, but that doesn’t mean I think he should be silenced or booted from the Senate. He was duly and properly elected to the Senate by his constituents, as crazy as that seems, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.
I think every Dem/socialist in Sacramento, along with about two-thirds of the GOPers, are nuts. But that doesn’t bar them from office or justify any form of governmental sanction.
That pesky First Amendment again.
Which brings us back to the threat to our liberties that I mentioned at the beginning of this column. Conservatives believe that the liberties guaranteed to us by the Constitution and Bill of Rights mean exactly what they say. I may not agree with you but I won’t try to silence you. Or, as attributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
But the left … ah, the left. If they don’t like what you say, they’ll try to destroy your life, demonize you, silence you, shun you, exile you from the public square, get you fired from your job, and outlaw what you can say.
If that’s not a threat to liberty, I don’t know what is.
Brian Baker is a Saugus resident.