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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, November 02, 2017 1:00 am


Bosses aren't bound by First Amendment

I have read in The Journal Gazette and elsewhere recently that NFL players have a First Amendment right to kneel for the national anthem. I suppose they do, but it is entirely beside the point. The government is not threatening repercussions for their kneeling.

We all have First Amendment rights to free speech. This guarantees us the right to express ourselves without having to fear government retribution. The First Amendment does not deal with private actors, including employers. Unfortunately, if your boss wants to fire you for being a Democrat, the First Amendment won't protect you. If Jerry Jones wants to fire his quarterback for kneeling during the national anthem, the First Amendment won't stop him.

The NFL players' protests are, in my opinion, respectful and tasteful. I see nothing in their actions that demeans the troops, first responders, firefighters, apple pie or anything else people consider to be “all American.” They seem simply to be expressing the radical notion that duly empowered law enforcement officers should not be so cavalier when shooting members of their community. I hope they continue to kneel as long as they feel the need to do so.

Nonetheless, let's be clear about what the First Amendment does and does not protect: It protects your speech from restrictions by the government; it does not protect your speech from restrictions by overbearing bosses.

Charles J. Maiers


Former Fort Wayne resident

'Propaganda is ubiquitous'

Journalists' and Congress' and people's righteous indignation over Russia's buying advertisements on Facebook to influence our election makes me giggle. Don't they know Radio Free Europe is there to push/advertise/advocate for what we have to sell?

According to Wikipedia, “Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – 2016 budget, $108,414,000; staff, 487 – is a United States government-funded broadcasting organization that spreads news, information, and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East, where it claims the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed.”

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a 501(c)(3) corporation that receives U.S. government funding and is supervised by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, an agency overseeing all U.S. federal government international broadcasting services. Propaganda is ubiquitous.

James Bugert

Fort Wayne

Great choices abound to replace Donnelly

Sen. Joe Donnelly's campaign is spewing out emails fast and furiously. His latest laments that the president pointed out to an Indianapolis crowd that he would “campaign against Donnelly like you wouldn't believe.” The senator also complained about Americans for Prosperity, a Koch Brothers-backed group, giving a seven-figure ad buy with “dirty” money. Donnelly lamented GOP candidate Mike Braun contributing nearly $1 million (of his own money).

Donnelly rode with the president on Air Force One for the trip. He apparently didn't make a forceful enough argument since the president felt compelled to remind Donnelly that elections have consequences. I believe the Koch Brothers are well enough known contributors that their money is not “dark.” Braun has worked hard to make a successful business and has been able to grow that business. It is his money and he can do what he wants with it.

Donnelly doesn't question when public service unions dole out money to his campaign. His failure as an effective senator has spilled into his campaign. He is at the beck and call of teachers' unions and every liberal cause supported by his friends,Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer.

Indiana needs a senator who will listen to Hoosier voters on the important issues such as health care, tax reform and a strong economy. Republicans have a great choice of candidates who will bring Hoosier values to Washington, not tricked-down Washington values brought to Indiana.

W. Patrick Sefton

Fort Wayne