Saturday, March 17th, 2018

Free Speech and the Politics of “Shut Up”


Posted on Thursday, April 1, 2010 by Deb Phillips | 2 Comments 

“ALL IN FAVOR, SAY ‘AYE.’ ALL OPPOSED — SHUT UP.” In this “transformative” era of Obama, those who raise their voices in legitimate opposition to government policies or actions are routinely subjected to ridicule and false accusations. Is free speech in this country now only a privilege of the “enlightened few” — or is it still a right of all citizens?

American citizens exercise their First Amendment rights outside the Rayburn House Office Building on March 20, 2010.

Following the March 20, 2010 "Kill the Bill" Rally on the U.S. Capitol grounds, droves of American citizens gathered outside the Rayburn House Office Building to raise their voices in unison to members of Congress who were inside the building. The crowd's loud chants and spirited voices echoed off the building's stone slabs — all without the purported "hatred" or "ugliness" described by many in the media.

Free Speech for Some?

These days, Left-leaning politicians, Leftist political activists, and liberal collegians exercise their First Amendment free-speech right without the likelihood of restraint or retribution. Rarely are their motives, their intelligence, their “civility” or their right to free speech challenged by the collusive Left-leaning media.

Yet those who have the audacity to publicly disagree with — or simply question — the “powers that be” typically are the objects of harsh ridicule and false accusations. How dare anyone challenge the “progressive” agenda!

A health-care protester raises a George Washington "Kill the Bill" sign outside the U.S. Capitol.

Amid the crowd of health-care legislation protesters at the U.S. Capitol, this man raises a "Kill the Bill" sign.

The Real Incivility

Some charge that Tea Partiers have become “uncivil,” incited to “disturbing” and violent behavior by the Republican Party. If Tea Partiers are indeed angry, it is because the very height of incivility has been perpetrated upon the American people by members of Congress and the Obama administration.

Real incivility is …

  • Leaders engaging in bribery, backroom deals, lies and deception — and then topping off their “victories” with arrogance, gloating and mocking elitism.
  • Leaders claiming to be working for the good of the American people, but sequestering themselves from their constituents, and then branding their constituents with uncivil labels and contemptible motives.
  • Leaders shutting down debate — whether in the halls of Congress or in Presidential interviews — either through the power of the office or with accusations of racism or of “hate speech.”

In these times, there is no one more “uncivil” than those who have the power to make law but who have abdicated their duties through unscrupulous acts.

Following close behind the lawmakers in corruption are the complicit media, who likewise have abdicated their journalistic duties in favor of a political agenda.

Americans draped a flag over the railing at the Rayburn House Office Building after the "Kill the Bill" rally on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on 3/20/10.

The large flag draped over a railing at the Rayburn House Office Building symbolizes both patriotism and concern for the country's direction.

Going Forward

Indeed, citizens have cause to be angry. Yet we acknowledge our own culpability in allowing our country to be governed by unscrupulous, self-serving leaders for too long. This problem did not suddenly begin with the current Congress or administration.

For decades, while regular Americans were busy working and raising our families, there have been individuals and groups working diligently behind the scenes to change the very core of our nation. Such individuals and groups exist today. Many of them despise the values and principles that formed our great country. Some even despise  the “self-evident” truths described in the Declaration of Independence:

… that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Citizens in opposition to the Democratic health-care bill made their voices heard on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on March 20, 2010.

Thousands of fervent protesters gathered on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on the afternoon of 3/20/10 to express their opposition to the Democratic health-care legislation.

  • Be assured that those who oppose our nation’s Founding principles are both relentlessly focused and ruthless. Going forward we ourselves must therefore be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
  • Moreover, let us not be quick to support any candidate simply because we want “change. We already know where that blind impulse has taken our country. Don’t simply make decisions based on a “D,” an “R” or any other letter designating political affiliation. Instead, let us seek out, scrutinize and support candidates whose positions and records are in line with our own individual core values.
  • Let us continue to peacefully (and perhaps loudly) exercise our right to free speech — whether in Tea Party rallies, marches or local gatherings with like-minded citizens; with letters to the editor or with emails, letters and phone calls to our representatives.

Free Speech — A Cherished Right

Free speech is indeed a cherished right that, unfortunately, not every citizen of the world is permitted to exercise. If we, the citizens of the United States, fail to exercise the free speech granted to free individuals, we will most assuredly lose freedom itself.

A black woman speaks to the crowd at the "Kill the Bill" rally outside the U.S. Capitol on 3/20/10.

One of the enthusiastic speakers who addressed the thousands who had gathered at the U.S. Capitol.

Visit the Photo Gallery

The edited collection of 145 images is available for online viewing in the 03/20/10 Washington, DC Tea Party photo gallery. Just CLICK on the “Slideshow” link on the gallery’s menu bar, and then sit back and enjoy a view of the Tea Party movement that’s been denied by the mainstream media.

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About Deb Phillips
Deb Phillips is a freelance photographer and writer based in Lewisville, NC (USA). In addition to reviewing Deb's documentary coverage here at, check out her inspirational photo blog at and her personal photo portfolio at Deb Phillips Photography, where Art & Life Converge.


2 Responses to “Free Speech and the Politics of “Shut Up””
  1. Jone Reid says:

    Deb, thanks for another great blog post. In reference to the lady in the last picture, I don’t know her name, but I was standing beside her at one time during the rally. She wanted to get to the stage and let the crowd know that she voted for Obama as president, but she was adamantly opposed to the imminent devastation the massive healthcare bill would bring our country. She kept asking the police officers protecting the boundaries around the Capitol to let her get to the stage. They told her to move to the front and try from that angle. I’m glad she made it!

    It was exciting to see so many groups represented at this rally. In addition to the African-American lady, I met a lady originally from Columbia, South America who is now a citizen of the US. She was passionately opposed to the USA moving in the direction of Socialism which she had come to American to flee from. I saw a group of doctors in solidarity representing their dislike of the healthcare bill. The crowd was a cross-section of America, and I am proud to have been a part of the group.

  2. Deb Phillips says:

    You’re welcome, Jone. Interesting info on the unidentified former Obama supporter and the lady from South America. It’s really a shame the media isn’t more honest, not only about the non-violent nature of the Tea Party movement, but also about the diversity of the Tea Partiers. But we’ll keep speaking out!

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