Laughably Unconstitutional

Lots of HOAs have tried to ban expressions of Free Speech. Some have discovered, to their chagrin, how expensive it is to flout the Constitution by forbidding campaign signs, religious symbols in windows or Mezuzahs on door jambs. In one famous case an elderly gentleman who stopped on his lawn to talk to two elderly women was cited for holding an unlawful assembly. Cases like that go to the Supreme Court where the lawyers make hundreds of thousands of dollars.

All that being said, you have to wonder at the idiocy of city leaders in South Pittsburg, Tennessee who decided to forbid all city employees from making negative comments on social media about other city employees, or about the city itself. Criticize your government? Go to jail!

Last night I was repeatedly brought to tears by a movie called American Violet. I would recommend it to every American of every race and religion. As a TV reporter I’ve been on many police raids and I’ve (not often) but occasionally seen physical abuse of suspects that troubled me. I’ve been in courtrooms and have seen plea bargains that greatly troubled me. This movie showed me why I had reason to be troubled.

An attorney friend of mine once told me, “A right not exerted is a right soon lost.” He wasn’t the originator of the quote. But we all should claim that quote as the guiding principle of our lives. We live in a great country. Memorize your rights. Get it clear in your mind who grants you those rights. And shout your rights from the mountaintops.

(link to story about banning Free Speech in Pittsburg, Tennessee)


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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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