The First Amendment is more than a body of law. It is a tradition of the society. At various junctures in our nation’s history, we have lost our constitutional bearings.
Those debacles – every bit as much as moments of judicial clarity and civic courage – are assets of the tradition. They remind us that while courts and legislatures have their roles, stewardship of the First Amendment ultimately resides with each of us as citizens.
The tradition has the power to sustain us in dark times, and we, in turn, have the power to strengthen the tradition with our words and actions.