It is difficult to know which is worse, that Greg Gianforte lost his temper and body slammed a reporter, that his spokesperson lied to cover up the facts of the incident afterwards, or that his attack on a journalist for some Montanans was a reason to celebrate. All of these are horrendous, but I would have to go with the latter as the most distressing aspect of this election.
The ambivalence or hostility developing towards our free press in my opinion is the most frightening of recent developments. Equally disturbing is that this attitude is being promoted and stoked by our president who has called the press “the enemy of the people.” The consequences may one day prove to be devastating if we do not check this trend soon.
Freedom of speech, including a free press, is an essential ingredient for democracy. Our Founding Fathers understood this, which is why freedom of speech is one of our first amendment rights. We cannot have one without the other. Republicans have traditionally been staunch defenders of our constitutional rights and we need those voices now more than ever.
John Adams once stated: “The liberty of the press is essential to the security of our state.” His good friend, Thomas Jefferson, put it this way: “Were it left to me to decide if we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Let’s hope we never forget their wisdom and that we protect our free press as a sacred right of the American people.