Jeff Lee: Reflect on the First Amendment

Thursday, June 09, 2022

Last week’s front-page story, “Advocacy for site of new Amherst school called unwarranted” that leaders of the political action committee Amherst Forward are arguing that Amherst citizens should refrain from offering an opinion on the best site for the roughly $100 million new elementary school and let the Elementary School Building Committee “do its job.”

The PAC doesn’t seem to understand just how anti-democratic this message sounds. Perhaps Americans should continue to allow Congress to do its job and kick the gun control can down the road for another 10 years. Maybe women should keep silent and let the Supreme Court do its job of overturning Roe v. Wade. And similarly, Russians should stay out of Putin’s way while he does his insane job of barbarizing Eastern Ukraine.

Citizen engagement in the government decision-making process is a pillar of healthy democracies, and the right to voice one’s opinion is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. Perhaps Amherst Forward should reflect on whether their authoritarian narrative is really serving the Town of Amherst well.

Jeff Lee