Jim Thompson
Jim Thompson
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

For many Americans, the most important events of 2020 do not include the COVID-19 virus, as painful and hurtful as that has been for many, many people.

No, the most important events of 2020 have been the appalling degradation of the 1st and 2nd Amendments to the Constitution. Attacks against these two bastions of American freedom have gone on for a long time, but this year the actions against them have reached unimaginable heights.

There is the couple in St. Louis being brought up on charges for standing in front of their own home with guns. What happened to Second Amendment rights? You’ve no doubt read the story. I’ll not bother with the details here.

Are we not allowed to defend our own home any longer?

After that one, I put three infrared cameras around our home, which record every movement and put it in cloud storage. We may be killed by "peaceful protesters," but there will be a file of evidence available, if there is any police force left to be interested in it.

It has been a year where one cannot feel free to speak their mind, our First Amendment rights. The only public place I feel I can even come close to speaking my mind is here in The Highland County Press, and even here I am very careful. I am not just talking about offering comments about current events; in most venues, I no longer feel it is safe to make statements about global warming and other subjects that are not considered “mainstream” no matter how wrong I think they are. There is no room for discourse any longer, if you are not on the “right” side of most issues, being shouted down may be the least of your worries.

For a long time, it has not been safe in many venues to talk about one’s religion, but that is one I will not give up. They can put me in jail or kill me for that one if they want to, that one will continue to be out front.

Then, recently, the New York Post had new information on Hunter Biden’s relationship with Ukraine, information that has not been seen before anywhere. What happens? Both Facebook and Twitter censor it immediately.

This is probably the scariest thing that has happened to our freedoms this year. If the big tech companies feel fearless when it comes to censoring free speech, we have lost it.

They should be of common carrier status like the old Ma Bell was, totally agnostic about what is said on their sites. These truth squads they have filtering free speech are ridiculous. I have friends who occasionally post scenes of Jesus’s crucifixion – in recent months, Facebook has been covering those up as being “violent and disturbing.” They do the same thing with pictures of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

I know there are many people who read this paper who only listen to one side of the news. It is obvious by their comments. That is a person’s choice, if they only want to hear one side of the news, it is their right, even if it makes them look uniformed.

But it is our right as Americans to hear all sides of the news if we want to do so and to say what we think (except the old example, don’t yell “fire” in a theater).

We are at a serious place when it comes to the amendments that are there for our rights and our protection. I hope, in the brief time that is left, you look carefully at the choices on Nov. 3 where you live and then vote to protect your rights and your freedoms. We lose these freedoms and there is nothing else to talk about. We are no better than the most despotic governments of the last 150 years.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at jthompson@taii.com.