January 11, 2018

A Tale of Two Amendments

By Glenn

How often have you heard people say, “We respect our teachers”?  When the Teacher of the Year from Vermillion Parish Louisiana spoke her mind, however, we saw with our own eyes how meaningless this statement has become.  On January 8th Deyshia Hargrave stood up to exercise her First Amendment rights during a School Board Meeting.  She was polite.  She was focused.  Moments later, Mrs. Hargrave found herself face down in handcuffs.

The First Amendment is the lynch pin of limited government.  Our Founding Fathers knew that it was the key to maintaining a free society.  Well known are protections for speech and religion, but often overlooked is the freedom of petition for redress of grievances.   Each individual has a right to complain to the government and demand a fix.

Hargrave’s complaint was not unusual.  Over the years she saw few pay raises but frequent increases in class sizes and work load.  During the School Board meeting she raised her hand and asked a simple question.  How could the School Board vote to give the Superintendent a raise, increasing his salary from approximately $110,000 to more than $140,000?

The School Board President dismissed her question, stating the floor was open for comments not a question.  Who in the room didn’t understand her “comment”?  How can public officials claim to value teachers when they only reward Superintendents? She was stating clearly that the School Board did not in fact value teachers.  She said, “It’s basically taking our money.”

As she stood waiting for a response from the Board, a law enforcement officer paid by the Board told her she had to leave.  She stood her ground and waited for an answer.  The officer then grabbed her and escorted her out of the meeting.  In the hall, she turned and asked what she done wrong.  The officer forced her to the ground and handcuffed her.

Now contrast that with the events in 2014 at the Clive Bundy Ranch in Nevada.   Mr. Bundy had repeatedly refused to pay his rent to the American people.  When Federal law enforcement officers arrived to evict him, Bundy’s supporters drew their weapons.  Cameras from around the world capture images of these criminals pointing guns at our men and women in uniform.  Federal agents backed off and the Bundys walked free.

Their supporter claimed to be exercising their Second Amendment Rights.  They made clear they had the right to shoot tyrannical local, state and federal officials.  At the time they were not taken into custody.  They were not throw face down nor were they handcuffed.  Even though they threatened the lives of the “Men in Blue” they walked free.

Here we have Two Amendments side by side.  In the first case a teacher politely demanded respect during a school board meeting and found herself in handcuffs.  In the second case armed vigilantes pointed weapons at sworn defenders of the law and walked free.  Something is radically wrong with a country that punishes speech but praising violent insurrection.

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