Tell the Founders to just shut up?

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Too many Americans are edging toward embracing authoritarianism.

AT THE TOP of this page is the text of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Read it, please.

Then think about this.

Howard Kurtz - of Fox News, no less - reports his shock over an Ipsos poll that asked the question whether respondents believe President Trump "should have the authority to close news outlets ..." Twenty-six percent - more than 1 in 4 - said yes.

As if that's not shocking enough, get this: Among self-identified Republicans, 43 percent - almost 1 out of 2 - said yes. The president should be able to just issue an order and silence journalists.

THERE ARE PLACES where that happens. All are totalitarian regimes in which it is a crime to report truths that are inconvenient for the government, or to criticize power.

Here in America, the Founders thought free speech and free press were so important they were included in the very First Amendment of the Constitution. The Founders were willing to rebel and die to remove the yoke of one-man dictatorial rule from the necks of themselves and their countrymen. So they built into the governing document of the country the right to criticize power and to report independently on government.

Think about that. Then think about 1 in 4 Americans willing to toss the First Amendment out the window - or, worse, 1 in 2 Republicans, who should ask themselves this question: Would their beliefs be the same if Barack Obama still lived in the White House?

Go to the top of the page. Read it again. Please.

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