Dear Mister Bright,

 I’ve never written a letter to the editor before but when a journalist whose whole business revolves around freedom of speech and the first amendment calls for speech restrictions. I must.

 While I agree with you that white supremacists and Nazis are repugnant and their philosophy morally bankrupt, “antifa” counter protestors acting out their emotional indignation by burning cars and carrying clubs are hardly examples of civic virtue. Political speech is protected. The Constitution was written to protect us and preserve our freedoms. The first amendment guarantees that I don’t have to look over my shoulder for the thought police when I express my opinion. It guarantees that you will never have your presses stopped by jack-booted storm troopers.

To call for speech restrictions leads to partisan regulations and penalties. If you trust in the enduring goodness of the government without our constitution then your grasp of history needs refreshment. Like you, the Nazis believed certain groups were not entitled to the same protections as others. If you think the current phobias and anarchy are good because you agree with them then you need to remember that the mob is fickle and fashions change.

Freedom of speech and freedom of thought are the keystones of the liberty we enjoy in this country. My freedom of speech is a crucial portion of my enjoyment of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness enjoined in the declaration of independence. As an Army officer I swore an oath to protect and defend the constitution. So as a famous saying goes: “I disagree with what you say sir, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”


     T.W. Essex

  Colonel, U.S. Army (ret)

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