Miss Constitution does not think the constant negatives that have overlaid our nation like the toxic fog she discussed in an earlier column are good for any of us. She apologizes if she herself seems to find the nation in great anxiety and distress. The American people are generally lighthearted, generous, energetic, and relish transferring weightier matters to those they elect to represent them. The American people know there is a Constitution that governs them but they really do not want to spend time studying its finer points. After all, those they have elected to represent them take an oath to “preserve, protect, and defend” it so surely they know what it says, right? Wrong. Sadly, it seems apparent to Miss Constitution that very few of them have read it, much less studied it, and like most Americans are just winging their way when interviewed about the war on the Constitution now going on.

With this in mind, Miss Constitution wishes to illuminate just one premise of our Constitutional system which seems to have alluded everyone. OUR SYSTEM ALLOWS ONE TO BE HATEFUL IN THE PROPER FORUM BUT DOES NOT ALLOW ONE TO BE RUDE. The 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution protects one’s personal political views against government suppression regardless of what those views are. For instance, Black Lives Matter is a well-funded organization with some hateful rhetoric and some violent behavior in support of that rhetoric. The Constitution supports the rhetoric if on public policy, no matter how hateful, in an approved forum, but forbids the violent behavior. Should the rhetoric be directed at a particular person it would be disallowed as a violation of the Unwritten Law of courtesy. These small distinctions are very important in analyzing current events. So, marching in a protest that has been permitted by a local governing authority for a certain time and place and saying whatever hateful thing one has to say politically is Constitutional. This applies to either the right or the left. Commentators who like the hateful political speech of the left but not the right, or commentators who like the hateful political speech of the right and not the left, are both missing the point. Hateful political speech in a forum permitted for such speech or in a lawfully permitted protest with time, place, and manner restrictions is perfectly okay. Miss Constitution does not understand why this is so hard to grasp. Violent behavior is not speech and is never allowed. Hateful speech directed at a particular person is never allowed as it is rude and may rise to unlawful. Governing authorities are to protect speakers of hateful political speech who have a permit to protest and speak and may not officially select speech they like from speech they don’t like. Speech like this is safer out in the open rather than said underground, the Founders thought.

Following the above refresher regarding the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution, QAnon, Black Lives Matter, and Antifa protests in general are Constitutional until they become violent. At that point they are not protests. There is no such thing as a legal protest with a little bit of violence. There is no such thing as a legal protest and then going to someone’s house and attacking them personally. The Trump rally on January 6 was a legal protest and the political speech at the protest was perfectly Constitutional as it was in the right forum. At the point at which some of the protesters illegally entered the Capitol, and violence occurred, the rally is no longer a legal protest. That the speech railed against what the protesters thought was a fraudulent Presidential election is perfectly Constitutional as political free speech. The issue before the nation now is whether social media executives have created the equivalent of a proper forum, and are therefore subject to the 1st Amendment protections from censorship of political speech. The Supreme Court will eventually have to decide this issue, but Miss Constitution thinks the executives of social media are on extremely thin Constitutional ice.

What about verbal attacks by individual elected representatives? One New York Congresswoman personally attacked a United States Senator with the accusation that “You almost had me killed.” This is different than the Speaker of the House saying, shockingly, that “The enemy is within the House of Representatives.” The former is directed at an individual and the latter is not. Directly accusing an elected representative of attempted murder is not only against the Code of Ethics of the House of Representatives it violates Unwritten Law and possibly statutory law. Throughout history, such insults were often handled by duels. It would not surprise Miss Constitution if the offender were challenged to a duel of “honor.” Miss Constitution wants to introduce you to what she calls, Zombie vs. Zombie duels, for much less of an insult than was delivered by the New York Congresswoman.

  1. 1552 – two women dueled in Spain over the love of one handsome bachelor (weapons unknown)
  2. 1598 – Ben Johnson, the famous English playwright, dueled over the better theater troupe (weapons unknown)
  3. 1792 – two American women dueled over one of them making a comment about the other’s age; they used both pistols and swords
  4. 1804 – Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, Vice-President dueled with pistols over remarks Hamilton made at a dinner party
  5. 1806 – Andrew Jackson dueled with pistols over someone calling his wife a bigamist; President Jackson had many duels related to his wife, Rachel
  6. 1837 – the Russian Alexander Pushkin dueled with pistols having had a jealous fit regarding his wife, Natalya
  7. 1870 – Painter Edouard Manet dueled, using swords, with a critic of two of his paintings

Of course these are illegal now as barbaric, but Miss Constitution thinks that loose language thrown out all over the place pitting Americans against each other, insulting whole groups for the color of their skin, creating racist public policy that amounts to “fighting words”, accusing everyone and anyone of the most heinous thoughts and motives, needs to stop voluntarily even if the speech is protected by the 1st Amendment. What one can do and what one should do are two entirely different things. Insults of honor, if hurled at someone personally, were once settled by Zombie vs. Zombie duels. Miss Constitution would deliver the following pleas: to social media executives – you are not the legal arbiters of protected political speech; to elected representatives of all government entities, including the President of the United States, – clean up your verbal act and display the dignity your position suggests; to corporation executives and Boards of Directors – deliver an excellent product to the American people, do not punish persons who do not share your questionable political views; to the Speaker of the House and the Leader of the Senate – your words can injure the Republic; to the American people – you are the Sovereign and need to fix this mess if only by example. Hint: personal speech that is positive; that is loving; that is encouraging is like a salve to a painful wound. Even if protected by the Constitution, political positions can be articulated with respect for the person who has an opposing view.

Failing anyone taking these suggestions to heart, Miss Constitution is practicing her swordsmanship, just in case.

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Miss C is taking questions you have about the US Constitution. Simply submit your questions and she’ll reply to you with answers. Great questions may be featured in her blog as well as added to an FAQ page. 

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    About the Author: Miss C

    M.E. Boyd, "Miss Constitution" is an attorney, author, and instructor in Business, Educational, and Constitutional Law. She has appeared on television and radio and speaks publicly on American history, the founding documents, and current political issues. Her mission is to help citizens understand the Founding philosophies behind the system so that we can-together-help preserve the blessings of liberty and prosperity. Read more about Miss C