First Amendment? What First Amendment?

The above video is a stirring rendition of a campaign song for Abraham Lincoln in 1860:  Lincoln and Liberty Too, probably the most effective campaign ditty in American political history.  It was sung everywhere by Republicans in 1860, from huge campaign rallies to small gatherings of Lincoln supporters.  Lincoln Wide Awakes would hold torch light processions throughout the North singing the song at the top of their lungs.  The type of enthusiasm generated by the song helped give Lincoln a popular vote plurality in 1860 and an electoral landslide. 

I think the song would probably be illegal under legislation proposed by Congressman Robert Brady (D.Pa). 

“Rep. Robert Brady (D-Pa.) reportedly plans to introduce legislation that would make it a federal crime to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a federal official or member of Congress.” 

Critics originally took Palin to task for the apparent use of the crosshairs of guns to identify the districts. The controversy re-ignited Saturday after the shooting, since Giffords’s district was included on the map.  

Brady singled out the map as the type of rhetoric he opposed. 

“You can’t put bull’s-eyes or crosshairs on a United States congressman or a federal official,” he said. 

However, a Palin spokeswoman denied Sunday that the image was intended to depict gun sights. Palin offered condolences to the Giffords family and other victims of the shooting on her Facebook page Saturday. 

 Here is the ad from SarahPac that has Congressman Brady so worked up:  






The crosshairs on the map indicated members of Congress targeted for defeat by SarahPac.  Such targeting imagery of course is commonplace in political campaigns.  Only a moron, or a partisan hack, would think that violence in any way was implied by the use of this image.  As far as American political speech goes, this was pretty tepid stuff.   

Under the legislation proposed by Brady, much of American political discourse would come to a screeching halt.  “Throw the bums out!” “Congressman ______ deserves to be kicked in the behind for that stupid vote!”  “If they bring a knife to the fight we bring a gun!”  That last was from Barack Obama using a line from the movie the Untouchables.  “I want you to argue with them and get in their face!”  That also is from Barack Obama.   

“Politics ain’t beanbag.” as Finley Peter Dunne said long ago, and in America, a free country, our political rhetoric has often been strident, heated and always unregulated by the government. 

In regard to Lincoln and Liberty, I guess Congressman Brady would object to the line saying “the Slavocrats’ giant he slew” which was a direct reference to Lincoln’s adversary Stephen A. Douglas, nicknamed The Little Giant.  Then we have “We” ll fight till our cause is victorious”.  Quick, someone run for help!  Congressman Brady has just fainted!


Of course this is not a serious proposal.  This is just a bid by a Congressman for some cheap publicity, and to enhance his standing among the wackdoodle Left in his own party.  If the Congress did pass legislation so manifestly unconstitutional, I can’t imagine it being upheld by the courts.  However, it does say something that a Congressman feels that it is safe for him as a Democrat Congressman from an overwhelmingly Democrat district to thumb his nose at the First Amendment.  The shootings by the lunatic on Saturday were dreadful.  Shooting the First Amendment in response would be much, much worse. 


   Hurrah for the choice of the nation!
Our chieftain so brave and so true;
We’ll go for the great Reformation
—For Lincoln and Liberty too!


We’ll go for the son of Kentucky
The hero of Hoosierdom through;
The pride of the Suckers so lucky
For Lincoln and Liberty too!


Our good David’s sling is unerring,
The Slaveocrat’s giant he slew;
Then shout for the Freedom-preferring
For Lincoln and Liberty too!


We’ll go for the son of Kentucky
The hero of Hoosierdom through;
The pride of the Suckers so lucky
For Lincoln and Liberty too!


Come all you true friends of the nation
Attend to humanity’s call
Oh aid of the slaves’ liberation
And roll on the liberty ball


We’ll finish the temple of freedom
And make it capacious within
That all who seek shelter may find it
Whatever the hue of their skin.


Success to the old fashioned doctrine
That men are created all free
And down with the power of the despot
Wherever his stronghold may be


They’ll find what by felling and mauling,
Our railmaker statesman can do;
For the people are everywhere calling
For Lincoln and Liberty too.


Then up with our banner so glorious,
The star-spangled red-white-and-blue,
We’ll fight till our Cause is victorious,
For Lincoln and Liberty too!



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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. Liberalism is a psychological disease.

    Would that bill inclusde imprisoning ARTISTS for producing movies about assassinating curent president (Booosh at the time), or a novel covering same murder?

    I probably will be among the first 1,000 sent to the democrat re-education camp of NY Soviet Socialist Republic.

  2. If the Congress did pass legislation so manifestly unconstitutional, I can’t imagine it being upheld by the courts.

    You have a higher opinion of the appellate judiciary than I do.

  3. I probably will go to jail for the following. But, here goes nothing . . . No, wait! Bombs away!!!

    Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Clintons, the so-called liberals, are foisting a gradual devolution to post-enlightenment collectivism. Enlightenment/modern man once emphasized individual or natural rights, e.g., life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. The liberals’ acts and agendas indicate that their goal is establishing and maintaining the collective, which they will rule. To them the collective is one and indivisible. The individual is nothing more than a part of the collective. The individual functions for the good of the collective, in which he is a small element. Chairman OBama’s regime is out to advance the collective and demote the individual. Health care reform, environmentalism/cap and economic ruin have nothing to do with reform or saving the planet. They are the means to seize control and subordinate the individual to the collective.

    When I was in school, and among the rare times I was thinking instead of drinking, they made us study the “Inquisitioin in the Middle Ages” by Henry C. Lea. The book revealed that, like today’s liberals, the medieval Church made it a crime punishable by life imprisonment or death to believe and/or think differently. The perp didn’t need to do anything to be condemned.

    Lea, “ . . . no one can rightly appreciate the process of its development and the results of its activity without a somewhat minute consideration of the factors controlling the minds and souls of men during the ages which laid the foundation of modern civilization. To accomplish this it has been necessary to pass in review nearly all the spiritual and intellectual movements of the Middle Ages, and to glance at the condition of society in certain of its phases.” Henry C, Lea, Preface.

    St. Thomas de Torquemada, pray for us.

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