Can I just say that again? Thirty percent -- more than 87 million people -- think that the First Amendment goes too far.
That's not all: 42% say the “press in America has too much freedom", while 41% disagree with the statement that "newspapers should be allowed to freely criticize the U.S. military."
Heaven help us.
From the analysis, it's clear that Americans have some pretty self-contradictory views on the First Amendment:
In the minds of many Americans, there is a troubling disconnect between principle and practice when it comes to First Amendment rights and values.
Americans in significant numbers appear willing to regulate the speech of those they don’t like, don’t agree with or find offensive. Many would too casually breach the wall between church and state. There is, in these surveys, solid evidence of confusion about, if not outright hostility toward, core First Amendment rights and values. . .
By a large majority, Americans say parents bear the primary responsibility for protecting their children from sexual material in the entertainment media, yet they are willing to broaden government regulation in that area.
Nearly eight in 10 believe the press has a government watchdog role, but four in 10 believe the press has too much freedom.
This is scary stuff, people. When your Administration is arguing (unsuccessfully, thank goodness) for the right to indefinitely detain people without charge, on the President's say-so, without access to lawyers. When the government asserts the right to put you under surveillance based on what you read. When the government can have access -- with no judicial oversight or even the need to prove probable cause or provide evidence -- to records of your finances, your purchases, your travels (not to mention searching your home) without telling you why, and without telling you what they're searching for. Freedom is being eroded in our country, and what's scarier is that the climate in which freedom flourishes is changing. When more than eighty-seven million people think that Americans shouldn't be able to practice their religion without government interference, or speak freely, or write about whatever they want, or assemble in public, or petition their government, we seem to be in trouble as a nation.
Think about that while you're enjoying your Fourth of July.