The First Amendment

I normally try to avoid politics in my work - a few people have figured out the basics of my own leanings from The Smart Aleck's Guide to American History, but I've never read a history book that didn't pretty well reveal the author's politics, and had I wanted to use that book to make political points, well, it would have been a VERY different book. I don't like being drawn into online debates much.

I've dealt with censorship before. My first book, How To Get Suspended and Influence People, was part of the ALA's banned book week packet last year. Now and then, someone will try to get me thrown out of libraries or schools.

But the thing is, few people ever dispute that I have a legal right to write these books, that my publishers have the right to publish them, or that book stores and libraries have the right to carry them. Some people say they SHOULDN'T, but we have to use a sort of broad definition to call that "censorship" in a legal sense (in most cases). People can call me a jerk or a hack, and they can call the librarians and I "smut peddlars," but they can't throw us in jail. Freedom of Speech is guaranteed by the first amendment to the U.S. constitution.

But few people are really all that familiar with what that ammendment actually says. Most know that it's about freedom of speech, and most also know that it's about freedom of religion. But few seem to remember that it also includes the right to assemble and to petition for the redress of grievances.

When a governor proposes stripping unions of their rights to collective bargaining, I believe that that is FAR more a violation of the spirit of the first amendment than some private citizen trying to get my books taken out of the library.

The only union I'm in is Traveling Mystery Solvers Local 236 (Chicago). And it's not even real (but I hope to start allowing people to join it soon). But T.M.S.U. stands with the public workers in Wisconsin today. This is not about the budget - the union has agreed to all the concessions Walker asked for - it's about rights.

My recent Banned Books Week Essay: Grandpa Geoff and Me




1 comment:

phoenixwoman said...

Thanks, Adam.

Adam's New Book: Sept 2013