Lesser-Known Parts of the First Amendment

There have been a number of political scandals and events this week. Particularly:

Donald Trump settling the Trump University fraud case for $25M
The ‘Stay to Play’ scandal
The non-blind ‘blind trust’

I would invite you to read about those, care about them, and act on them.

In the meantime, I wanted to talk about the ‘other scandal’, the one which is distracting everyone from the real issues above.

My understanding of what happened is that Mike Pence went to see ‘Hamilton’ in New York. It was an interesting choice, especaially given the diverse cast and his political stance on related issues.

At the end of the show, as you probably know by now, a member of the cast made a statement to the Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence.[1]

People are arguing about whether that was the time and place for a statement[2]. Those in favour will likely cite the First Amendment. However, they would likely reference the part which says ‘Congress shall make no law […] abridging the freedom of speech’. And this statement would certainly fall under that. But under this clause, they could have made the statement to anyone.

There is another clause:

“Congress shall make no law […] abridging […] the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

This is what was happening. The people had assembled. There were clear grievances. They were petitioning the one of the most powerful members of the government to be.

This is what the Bill of Rights really means.

This is Democracy.

[1]Mike Pence’s later reaction.

[2]Democracy is messy. People are going to say things that other people are not going to want to hear, at times that they’re not going to want to hear them. They waited until the play was done, then took their opportunity to speak directly to the person who might actually have some power to change things

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