Editor:

You may find this shocking, but the constitutions of the old Soviet Union and America are remarkably similar, right down to a Bill of Rights. So why didn’t our respective governments operate in a similar fashion? For example, Stalin really could shoot a person in Red Square in the middle of the day and get away with it. He in fact summarily executed millions of his own citizens; with no trial, no lawyers, and no jury.

How does that happen when their constitution, the law of the land, expressly prohibits such behavior? Let’s take just one constitutional item, the free press. In the USSR there was Pravda and Izvestia, the only two national newspapers, they both said the same thing all the time. So, if Stalin really did shoot someone in Red Square it would never get reported.

Hence the danger of a free press to autocrats. It reports the very stuff autocrats don’t want reported. Therefore, if you demonize the free press you simultaneously undermine your own constitution. That is an extremely dangerous thing to do. Thomas Jefferson said, “The only security of all, is a free press.” Or is it, as Trump says, “the enemy of the people”. You decide.

Mike Deignan

Punta Gorda

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