Refresher for some, New Concept for others and a Dream for the oppressed.



First Amendment (specific to Freedom of Speech)

“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.”

An overview

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. See U.S. Const. amend. I. Freedom of expression consists of the rights to freedom of speech, press, assembly and to petition the government for a redress of grievances, and the implied rights of association and belief. The Supreme Court interprets the extent of the protection afforded to these rights. The First Amendment has been interpreted by the Court as applying to the entire federal government even though it is only expressly applicable to Congress. Furthermore, the Court has interpreted, the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the rights in the First Amendment from interference by state governments. See U.S. Const. amend. XIV.

Two clauses in the First Amendment guarantee freedom of religion. The establishment clause prohibits the government from passing legislation to establish an official religion or preferring one religion over another. It enforces the “separation of church and state.” Some governmental activity related to religion has been declared constitutional by the Supreme Court. For example, providing bus transportation for parochial school students and the enforcement of “blue laws” is not prohibited. The free exercise clause prohibits the government, in most instances, from interfering with a person’s practice of their religion.

The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right of freedom of speech. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. The Supreme Court requires the government to provide substantial justification for the interference with the right of free speech where it attempts to regulate the content of the speech. A less stringent test is applied for content-neutral legislation. The Supreme Court has also recognized that the government may prohibit some speech that may cause a breach of the peace or cause violence. For more on unprotected and less protected categories of speech see advocacy of illegal action, fighting words, commercial speech and obscenity. The right to free speech includes other mediums of expression that communicate a message.  The level of protection speech receives also depends on the forum in which it takes place.

Despite popular misunderstanding the right to freedom of the press guaranteed by the first amendment is not very different from the right to freedom of speech. It allows an individual to express themselves through publication and dissemination. It is part of the constitutional protection of freedom of expression. It does not afford members of the media any special rights or privileges not afforded to citizens in general.

The right to assemble allows people to gather for peaceful and lawful purposes. Implicit within this right is the right to association and belief. The Supreme Court has expressly recognized that a right to freedom of association and belief is implicit in the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. This implicit right is limited to the right to associate for First Amendment purposes. It does not include a right of social association. The government may prohibit people from knowingly associating in groups that engage and promote illegal activities. The right to associate also prohibits the government from requiring a group to register or disclose its members or from denying government benefits on the basis of an individual’s current or past membership in a particular group. There are exceptions to this rule where the Court finds that governmental interests in disclosure/registration outweigh interference with first amendment rights. The government may also, generally, not compel individuals to express themselves, hold certain beliefs, or belong to particular associations or groups.

The right to petition the government for a redress of grievances guarantees people the right to ask the government to provide relief for a wrong through the courts (litigation) or other governmental action. It works with the right of assembly by allowing people to join together and seek change from the government.”


“any puritanical law that forbids certain practices, especially drinking or working on Sunday, dancing, etc.”

Words which would likely make the person whom they are addressed commit an act of violence.  Fighting words are a category of speech that is unprotected by the First Amendment.  Chaplinsky v New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942).”


Native Peoples of the Americas knew about and practiced this concept long before Europeans.








Carrot- Top


It was strange – all the ooohs and aaahs after the loud thump was heard.

I saw him, he passed right by the window on his way to the cement. He said nothing but thump!

We all rushed to the windows. Through the red splatter on the glass we saw him.

He lay quiet, face turned from us, blood his pillow.

One girl fainted – two threw up.

The boys, faces pale were being “men” about it.

Our teacher quickly closed the shades but it was too late. The memory fixed.

They let us out early that day.

“Now you go straight home!” they said.

I rushed home to tell everyone but I told no one.

I was alone.

No one was home much.

It was 1949, I was five.

I wasn’t a latchkey kid.

We didn’t lock the house.

I was a lonely kid.

They called me Carrot-Top. It hurt.

I can’t remember my father’s face.

I wanted to go to my friend’s house down the block. They had a new RCA console color TV. It came with a little statue of a dog listening to a record player (“His Master’s Voice”).

I wanted a dog but mom said no. “You won’t take care of it.”

I couldn’t go outside. Mom wouldn’t allow me to but she wasn’t home but she said I couldn’t leave the house if no one was home but I was alone.

I was lonely.

I wanted a friend.

One day we moved.



Jonquil neath snow awakes,

Green swords challenge the sky,

Sleep not eternal.


On silver stems,

Buds swell.

The first.


Robin, heavy with promise,

A rush to build,

Impatient arrivals await.



So soft, so sweet,

Emerges the future of the forest.


Farewell northern gales,

Fair winds caress,

Renewal begins.


It is spring.







Silent sands hold a rock.

Fallen tree, do thoughts follow?


Pain, no less yet tomorrow

I wonder, is worth unseen?


Remembrance an illusion

Arrow’s flight lost in storm?


A wish granted, forgiveness

Renewal, a tree grows


Be it mighty or forlorn,

As shelter or food,

Mighty weapon or tool


Once was, now is

What will be?

Is there tomorrow?


Street advice

Dude, don’t ask me to walk in your shoes.

They won’t fit my feet.

Pay your own debts

You made them, not me.

No, I won’t fight your war,

The battles are all yours.

Never ask for a handout

When a hand up is more help.

If you hunger I’ll feed you.

If you bleed I’ll bandage you.

If you fall I’ll help you up.

But I will not be you.

The Sage

Overheard someone talking about the upcoming election and how they wish Obama could run again.

(I threw up, but politely.)

The next thing I heard is how upset she was that a soldier declined to voice any opinion of Mr. Obama.

Seems she was ready to tear him a new one or buy him lunch depending on his answer.

“Obama is our hero, he got us out of that nasty war” she said.

“Ma’am, I am not allowed to voice my opinion of POTUS, but I can vote – Republican.”

The soldier did a perfect salute, an about face and marched off whistling God Bless America.