Free Speech and the United States Constitution:
A low priority issue?
President Clinton has signed into law a bill — of questionable Constitutionality — that will have a severe and lasting impact on free speech in these United States. We do not carry “objectionable” material at this site, but we recognize that the legal standard for decency can change with the slightest shift of the political tradewinds.
The winds have just shifted, strangely. In the face of overwhelming and vocal opposition from every major civil liberties and womens’ organization, the censorship provision passed both Houses. One of its few dissenters, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont shares his misgivings, earnestly decrying the lack of Judicial review. The Clinton Administration has raised constitutional concerns about the provision. And yet a spokesman says the President believes “it’s basically a good deal for the American people.”
All of those who voted and signed this bill into law have taken an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution. This is supposed to be the highest oath: to preseve and protect the framework of our system of government. Have they kept this oath? If this complacency goes unchallenged, what of the future?
Freedom of Speech, once taken as an absolute, is being tampered with. It has begun … where and when will it end? You may be concerned as a parent about your child’s exposure to indecent materials. Internet is global in scope; measures such as the Telecommunications Reform Bill cannot and will not affect access to these materials.
The only lasting effect will be to put a chilling damper to forms of on-line expression that are common among adults. And put into a place a system where future legislators’ shifting definitions can further erode the freedoms we have taken for granted. A system that may affect the way you and your children can express yourselves, in ways that have little to do with “decency”. Sound frightening? It is.
If you have not already done so, we urge you to review this action and lend your support in protest of this legislation in any way you can. Now that it has become law, only broad and vocal opposition from everyone … including you … can challenge it. On and off the net, this protest is now underway.
- http://www.vtw.org/speech/ Voters Telecommunications Watch
- http://www.aclu.org/ American Civil Liberties Union
- http://www.cdt.org/speech.html Center for Democracy and Technology
- http://www.eff.org/blueribbon.html To learn what the blue ribbon means
- firstname.lastname@example.org E-Mail the President
Thanks for listening.