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By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Foundation For Individual Rights
Everyone can use a reminder of the principles that made America the exceptional nation. That's why Congress established Sept. 17 as Constitution Day, marking the anniversary of the adoption of that remarkable document. Robert Van Tuinen, a student at Modesto Junior College in California's Central Valley, learned the hard way that eternal vigilance is the price of protecting the founding document. He was arrested on Constitution Day for handing out pamphlets with the text of the Constitution.
"Although I disagree with every word you say, I shall defend to the death your right to say it." This stirring proclamation by Voltaire could have been said by Thomas Jefferson -- or any of his associates -- since free speech, a mainstay of 18th-century Enlightenment, fueled the American Revolution and is incorporated in our Constitution. In the first half of the previous century, a common phrase was "It's a free country; I can say what I want." That phrase is not so common today, but free speech is still an American ideal, or so most of us think.