I’m sure I’ll have some more to say after I process everything that went down today (and continues to occur as I type this), but let me just remind all of us how important the 1st Amendment is and what it means for all of us.

The 1st Amendment isn’t just something that allows you to say whatever you want without consequence or reaction from other people.  The 1st Amendment, as is said in the movie The American President, is advanced citizenship.  “It’s gonna say ‘You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can’t just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the ‘land of the free’ ”

I posted the following on Facebook earlier today, as part of a thread that was getting heated about who was to blame for the violence that occurred today:  A moment of perspective, I would estimate that there were around 11,000 people around the Capitol loop today. 99% of them were peacefully chanting and protesting. I had a number of conversations with some teachers in the Capitol and even pointed out a good place they could stand in order to fully understand what was going on in House session.

From what I personally observed on the lawn, and in the videos I’ve posted so far, it appears that less than 100 caused the damage to the AFP tents.

I hope folks on both sides remember when a vocal/violent minority causes damage (physically or with their words) it does not apply to the whole group, (ie union thugs on liberals/Democrats or tea party on Republicans).

Those who want the 1st Amendment for their own purposes but not for anyone else have done nothing but damage all of us today.  I am ashamed of those who were violent today, and in way, I’m ashamed that I was mostly just an observer today and didn’t/wouldn’t protect others in Lansing.