MIAMI BEACH, Fla., Jan. 7, 2015 – [SATIRE] There was a palpable nervous excitement in the air. In just a few moments, the president of the United States was going to address the nation. After years of inaction by Congress, the president vowed to bypass it entirely, and through executive fiat, he would finally do “something, anything” to protect the nation’s children.
A hush fell over the room as President Obama entered and took his place behind the podium. He surveyed the audience of assembled press and banks of cameras, looking pensive and tense. His voice cracking with emotion as he began his prepared remarks.
For too long, our nation has been held hostage by special interest groups, hell-bent on preventing us from adequately protecting our citizens. Congress has been unwilling to act, afraid to confront these organizations and their membership. After years of discussion, we have – in my view – gained no ground, and made no progress. The time for talk has passed. The time for action is upon us.
The president went on to talk about the impact of online bullying and the suffering it causes children around the country.
He continued his emotional plea, saying that, if Congress won’t act, he would issue an executive order to impart “common sense controls” on the First Amendment to curb online violence, bullying and what might considered mean or snarky comments. “New task forces for the issuance of licenses for email, and social media, will usher in a new day where our children can be free of the threat of bullying,” the president choked out through his tears. “I respect the First Amendment, but we can still curb it for the sake of the children,” he said.
Under Obama’s proposed executive order, the newly created Bureau of Automated Technological Framework and Electronics (BATFE) would be charged with monitoring online communication, licensing of email addresses, vetting of social media accounts and filtering instant messages. “These reforms, while they might appear an inconvenience for some, will have the effect of protecting our youth from insulting and offensive content. In the end, the benefits certainly outweigh the costs,” the president said.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch added, also through her tears, “There is no reason that anyone needs more than one email address or social media account. For those who request additional accounts, BATFE will conduct background checks, complete with interviews of the applicant’s family members, physicians, and employers, to ensure the accounts won’t fall into the wrong hands.”
“When the Founders wrote the First Amendment, they could never have contemplated the way we communicate today. Facebook, Twitter, email and Snapchat are things they would never have wanted to be so freely accessible,” she continued. “These platforms are not the letters and pamphlets of yesteryear, but are used for assault and bullying of today’s youth. We simply cannot sit by and allow assault speech to go unregulated.”
Opponents of the president’s executive actions have said that the Bill of Rights is not something that can or should be played with.
“Civil rights shouldn’t be messed with,” said Marco Rubio. “These ridiculous orders will only hurt sensitive, law-abiding citizens. Further, the First Amendment is the bedrock of American freedom. It is the very essence of the American spirit. Dismantling out freedom of speech under the guise of protecting children and what the Framers would have contemplated is not only dangerous, it’s ridiculous.”
Democratic lawmakers applauded the president’s announcement, saying that the First Amendment has gone unchecked for too long, and common sense restrictions are not only constitutionally defensible, but will result in a safer, more sensitive world. “Our college students are very sensitive these days,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “These new regulations will allow us to foster more ‘safe spaces’ for them, our fragile flowers. America will soon be more like China when it comes to our free speech and expression, and that’s something we can all agree is good for the public.”
“I know that executive orders are never supposed to be used to bypass Congress, but our nation’s children cannot wait for Congress to get its act together,” President Obama explained. “When I think of all the suffering that our most vulnerable of citizens have had to endure,” The president paused, wiping away a single tear streaming down his cheek.
“I am both saddened and outraged. Enough is enough. These are simple, rational, sensible limitations on the right of speech. And I’ll be looking into more sensible restrictions on freedoms of assembly and religion too in the coming days, if Congress won’t act. It’s the right thing to do.”
Ironically, only one prominent Democrat has broken ranks and come out against the president’s new regulations and BATFE creation. Hillary Clinton has stated emphatically that when it comes to electronic communications and email addresses, the government should leave it to the people as they are in the best position to manage their own data and private servers.
An email to the Clinton 2016 campaign went unanswered.
Prominent civil liberties groups, including the ACLU, had no comment.
Just as we went to press, BATFE agents entered the premises and we were just able to issue this communiqué.
More to follow if the government permits it.
[Please note: The above article is satirical. It is not meant to report news or convey actual events.]