I am proud to receive this award because it means I have finally done something right!
It has been a pleasure and privilege working with the Texas Press Association, the Texas Association of Broadcasters, the dearly departed Texas Daily Newspaper Association, Senator Adams, Representative Hunter, the Lt. Governor and advocates on issues like the Free Flow of Information Act and Anti-SLAPP protections.
It is vital that we in office do what we can to strengthen the 1st Amendment.
How different would your life be if tomorrow a host of Amendments to the Constitution expired?
However, if the 1st Amendment were taken away, the very fabric of our society would be completely altered. America as we know it would be a completely different place. The 1st Amendment, its expanse and its protection, is the backbone of this nation. It ensures that we have the ability to speak about what we believe in, be it in print, on the air, on a street corner or in church.
Of all of the things that make America exceptional, the 1st Amendment stands out. When the founders ratified the 1st Amendment 227 years ago, the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly, the freedom of religion and the freedom of the press and guaranteed rights was an entirely radical concept, never before tried.
Even in other democracies today, certain speech is outlawed and criminalized.
Thurgood Marshall said it best:
“If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a State has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch. Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds…
“But, above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content…
“The First Amendment serves not only the needs of the polity but also those of the human spirit — a spirit that demands self-expression. Such expression is an integral part of the development of ideas and a sense of identity.”
Thank you all.