In today’s highly charged political arena, it would be useful and wise to be somewhat circumspect about the things we post. Just a friendly reminder!

Some posters on Facebook and elsewhere seem to be confused about their constitutional rights to say anything, even if it is demonstrably untrue. The constitution does not guarantee an individual the right to lie. It prevents government agencies and governmental employees (not private citizens) from curtailing freedom of religion and speech. Private citizens, like you and me, are likewise prohibited from similar egregious behavior not by the constitution but by existing laws against defamation of character, libel, and slander.

The First Amendment was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights. The Supreme Court has determined that protection of speech is not absolute. In other words, you and I are not free to spread lies even if your favorite bloviator on the internet posted those lies first.

Examples given below:

Chalked on the railing at my beach access are the words Are you American or are you Democrat. Full disclosure, I used to be a Democrat, but no matter what I am or you are we should know enough not to say that all Democrats are un-American.

In a recent post, a contributor wrote ex-president Obama is (and was during his presidency) a Muslim with anti-American, anti-constitutional tendencies, on the side of Russia and its Muslim allies, and he had no interest in keeping American interests safe and secure during his tenure. There’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim, but nothing about those statements are true! This same poster went on to say that it is safe to say, Obama had interests in putting the US in a place to bow to global powers. I call that horse feathers and a politically motivated lie.

On facebook, a friend of mine blames President Biden for the increase in gas prices which is untrue enough on its face. Gas prices have gone up, and it is possibly true that President Biden could have done more to curb those increases, but it is not true that he is directly to blame. My friend also claims that President Biden, and other Democrats and Republicans, are “bought” and are “puppets” of Russia and China because of their financial investments and dealings with those countries. It is true that we would be better off if our political leaders were free from foreign financial entanglements while in office, but that is not the same as saying that Russia and China are pulling their strings.

Proposed: Let’s climb down off the divisive partisan mountain we find ourselves on. You can vote Republican or Democrat or Reform Party like me, but you should avoid demonizing the other sides. Remember, defamation, libel, and slander are against the law.