We never miss an opportunity to defend the First Amendment.

The public outcry after local attorney Ford Greene hung an upside-down American flag outside his San Anselmo office after George W. Bush’s presidential victory on Nov. 3 is a pitiful reminder that Americans are still struggling with the concept that citizens have the right to peacefully voice their opinions.

While we acknowledge that those who complained to the police thought the display was unnecessarily large, to restrict it would whittle away at our precious freedom of speech.

We know how it must have grieved the minority Marin Republicans to see someone utter dissent in the middle of their revelry. How dare Greene rain on their parade?

After all, people who disagree should be limited to cursing to themselves as they read the morning paper. Placing an international sign of distress on the side of a building in the middle of a busy intersection is outrageous!

Man, the First Amendment is a pesky bugger isn’t it?

Everywhere in America there is evidence that its citizens are proud of their freedoms. Public demonstrations, Internet blogs, and political talk shows are all evidence that the beloved first entry to our Bill of Rights is alive and kicking.

But some residents of Marin County seem to think that when a resident says something that they don’t agree with, the First Amendment no longer applies.

This “Not In My Backyard” attitude is exactly what the Unites States doesn’t need. In order to synthesize a more tolerant nation from our diverse perspectives, we need to recognize the opinions of others, not silence those who disagree.

Those who disapproved of Greene’s gesture need to realize that in order to keep from spiraling into an abyss of exceptions to our prized American freedoms, we must prevent our own biases from interfering with our judgment.

This has nothing to do with political affiliations. We, as a country, must uphold the First Amendment by not trying to restrict its use by people with whom we don’t agree. We all know what path that leads to, and it is not one that we want to travel.

Source: http://drake.marin.k12.ca.us/jr/04-05/pdf/issue4/Opinion5.pdf


Hub Law Offices 711 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo, California 94960-1949 415-258-0360 ford@fordgreene.com