By Seth Johnson
Former Ambassador Alan Keyes, who served as a high-level Reagan-era diplomat and today continues his advocacy for the constitutional republic as a commentator for WND, is being honored with the Christopher Reeve First Amendment Award by the Creative Coalition, a nonpartisan political advocacy organization for the entertainment industry.
The award will be presented at the annual Spotlight Awards Gala Tuesday in New York City.
Keyes, who 17 years ago became the second regular columnist for WND, behind WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah, said he was a little surprised when he was notified that he had been chosen, as past recipients include Sean Penn, Harry Belafonte, Walter Cronkite and Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.
He said he’s encouraged that groups such as this one, made up largely of Hollywood interests, understand the First Amendment.
“The idea that the folks who are involved with the Creative Coalition would be willing to associate me with the First Amendment Award has to mean they still realize that the First Amendment is not about what you say. It is actually about making sure that the people of this country are getting a full and free airing of the great issues, of the great ideas, in order to be responsible citizens,” Keyes said.
Keyes is well known as a staunch pro-life champion and an eloquent advocate of the Constitution. He has described himself as working to promote an approach to politics based on the initiative of citizens of goodwill working in agreement with the principles of God-endowed natural right.
He is also a three-time presidential candidate, running in 1996, 2000 and 2008, and he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the ambassador to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Keyes told WND he was familiar with the coalition, having participated in one of its debates in 1996 on abortion.
“One thing impressed me at the time. They actually handled the forum in a way that was fairly straightforward,” he said.
Keyes said he decided to accept the honor “because of the nature of the subject matter.”
“I may or may not agree with Christopher Reeve,” he said. “But I certainly believe we need to focus attention and pursue the true meaning and the true purpose of the First Amendment.”
Keyes said that in spite of deep ideological differences, there is still an agreement in America about certain aspects of the Constitution.
But he added that when “you look at what’s actually going on in the country, that agreement is frayed.”
“Whenever the political process ceases to be representative of a serious and significant plurality in the electorate, you’ve got to do something new,” he said. “You can’t go on with it, because representation is the key to our form of our government. If you’re not being represented, then you have let the Constitution be destroyed, because it’s all about making sure that the voters of this country are represented in the government and that their will is respected.”