Commentary: Join us–become a First Amendment warrior

By Ted Nelson

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

–First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

In the September 2018 edition of East Village Magazine, a rare editorial proclaimed “The Free Press Is Not The Enemy Of The People.”  We made the argument that WE ARE THE PEOPLE.  The five freedoms set out in our Bill of Rights have made us “… a bulwark of civilization,” a shining light against the dark forces of demagoguery, tyranny, and oppression.

One year later, the battle rages on.

“It is our constitutional right, our privilege, our patriotic duty to continue this role and to support, with our small but stalwart voice, our call … for doing what the Constitution calls the press to do.  We will not be silenced.  We will continue to do our job, with dignity and ferocity.”

–EVM editorial, September, 2018

Humans solve problems through a process of trial and error.  We look at an issue, gather as much information about it as we can, make some educated guesses about its nature, and decide what to do about it.  But effective decision making requires us to marshal as much accurate information and scientific fact as we can bring to it.

When fact and truth become the baubles of political manipulation, problem solving is corrupted and our democracy is wounded.  Sadly, this is the situation we now find ourselves in.  This is what telling truth to power is all about.  This is the battle that journalists are now engaged in.

Words matter.  Truth matters.  Our purpose at East Village Magazine is to honor and present the truth.  In this time of intense political and social discord, this time when our very existence on the planet is threatened, could there be a more important mission?

Historically, democracy has always been a messy and problematic process.  “Genuine democracy is difficult to achieve and once achieved, fragile. In the grand scheme of human events, it is the exception, not the rule.”  – Costica Bradstan, NY Times

Basically, the idea of democracy — one person, one vote — runs contrary to human nature.  We are a contentious lot, always looking for an edge and not predisposed to getting along.  Democracy, messy and difficult as it is, remains the only path that allows for the survival of human dignity.

In a July 5 New York Times article titled “Democracy is for the Gods: It should be no surprise that humans cannot sustain it,”  Costica Bradstan concludes with the following observation: “Yet democracy is one of those elusive things — happiness is another — whose promise, even if perpetually deferred, is more important than its actual existence. We may never get it, but we cannot afford to stop dreaming of it.”

As dedicated First Amendment supporters, the staff of East Village Magazine invite you to join the fray.

Support us in our role as First Amendment warriors.  Join us in the front lines as a reporter, distributor, neighborhood associate, news photographer, or cartoonist.

Or help to cover our backs with your talent, time, and money.  We need individuals with skills in IT, accounting, graphics, advertising, research, grant writing, legal, event planning, fundraising — all of those things that pump the blood of vitality into an organization.

Link arms with your neighbors and fellow Flintoids in keeping one of the most critical elements of our democracy healthy and effective.

And have fun in the process.  Meet new people.  Make new friends.  Exercise your mind and body.  Take your heart out for a walk.  Let your spirit taste the sweet honey of engagement with your fellow humans in a great cause.  It’s good for your health, good for the neighborhood, and good for the country.  E Pluribus Unum!

This is it.  America’s most basic values are being challenged.  The next year or so will determine the direction our democracy takes.  Don’t be that pantywaist on the sideline waiting on others to decide the outcome.  Be proactive.   Take a risk.  Become involved.  You can make a difference.  You have the power of ONE.  Extend your hand to your fellow citizens and become the many that cannot be resisted.

Let’s talk.

Call me at 810-235-2977.

Whatever your talents, skills, or limitations, there is a way for you to participate and we will figure it out.

EVM Editor-at-Large Ted Nelson can be reached at


Author: East Village Magazine

A Non-profit, Community News Magazine Since 1976

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