Reflections on Freedom of the Press on the Occasion of the Eve of July 4th, 2017
“I SUPPOSE you know about Trump’s latest vicious Tweet,” I said to Cat on the day before the Fourth of July holiday.
Cat yawned, and didn’t answer.
“The one where he’s beating the stuffings out of a CNN reporter,” I said.
“So?” Cat yawned.
“So, that was horrible. He throws the CNN reporter to the ground and whack, whack, whacks the man. And then he does it all over again.”
“Phoebe, it wasn’t real,” Cat said to me, uncoiling himself from where he had been sleeping on the living room couch. “It was pretend. Did you ever see a reporter with a block where his head is supposed to be?”
"WHAT DO you know about reporters, Cat?” I said.
“I know the ones on TV have big mouths, and this one just had ‘CNN’ written where his big mouth was supposed to be,” Cat said.
“Listen, Furball, I know that it wasn’t real. And I know that it was a fake video from a fake wrestling thing that was made years ago before the Trump Nightmare became real and everyone thought Trump was a joke.”
“That’s very insightful of you, although not very respectful of the Commander In Chief, and now I can go back to sleep,” Cat said, repositioning himself on the couch, this time stretching himself out to take as much room as possible, with his back turned to me.
“Trump meant it. He wanted people to experience what it was like to beat the crap out of a reporter. Throw him on the ground. Whack. Whack. Whack. Oh, What Fun It is to Whack a Reporter. ”
“Not a joke. Not funny, Cat. And stop apologizing for him like you are part of Cat Cult of Trump. He says that media is fake, out to get him, can’t be believed, the press is the Enemy Of The People. And when he says stuff like that, people actually stand up and cheer and wave little American flags.”
“Where’s your sense of humor, Phoebe?” Cat said.
“Missing in action this Fourth of July Week, Cat. When presidents, not to say dictators, do stuff like that, there are consequences. Like that guy from Wisconsin who was running in the special election, and who knocked down a reporter who was asking him about health care. Punched out for health care questions – get the irony here?”
“Actually, Phoebe, I remember that one: the reporter was being obnoxious, badgering him, just when the poor GOP guy was at the end of a hard campaign and obviously didn’t want to talk about health care at that particular moment. Who wouldn’t want to whack a reporter like that?”
“That’s my point, Trump sets the example, and the rest of us start acting like animals,” I said.
"WHO ARE you calling an animal?” Cat said.
“How would you like to come down from your high and mighty living room couch, and I’ll tell you in person, so to speak,” I growled.
“You growling, Cur?” Cat emitted a low, ominous sound I’d never heard, like it was coming from something that lived deep in underground cavern, and not from a common, if aging house cat.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
“How’d you like a pawful of razor-sharp claws raked across one of those pretty little brown eyes?” Cat shrieked, arching his back.
Just then, the Nice One rushed into the living room.
“What’s gotten into the two of you?” she said. “You should listen to yourselves. People can hear this shrieking and growling all over the neighborhood. What will people think?”
“We were just discussing the importance of the First Amendment and the central role that a free press plays in a democracy,” I said. Cat nodded sincerely and started to purr
The Nice One – and she truly is nice –couldn’t understand what I was saying. She is, after all, Human, and they never hear a thing we say. The Nice One headed back to the kitchen.
“Happy Fourth of July Eve, Cat,” I said.
“Ditto that, My Friend,” Cat said, settling down back onto the couch. “Looking forward to some good old fashioned Fourth of July fireworks, tomorrow.”