To me the first amendment is the most important amendment and why I believe the second amendment must always exist. The first amendment is the only one that would require an armed population to truly defend with force, once the government moves to suspend or limit the freedom of speech.
Like John Adams said, “But a constitution of government once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever”. The basic liberty of us to believe and think what we want is engraved in the wording used in the First Amendment.
Speak Your Mind
When it comes to speech, it says “or abridging the freedom of speech”. This stands out to me in a few different ways. The biggest example is what we have deemed ‘hate speech’, to me that is a violation of our freedoms. Abridge is to shorten what we write without losing its meaning, if freedom of speech is deprived then the freedom of speech would also be affected and limited. I understand it doesn’t feel good to have someone say something that hurts your feelings, but you have the choice not to listen or let it bother you.
If we limit the speech of the people we do not agree with, in turn we end up silencing ourselves. The only way for intelligent people to have the freedom to speak out, is to allow everyone to speak out. Even if we do not agree with what they are saying. Speech is important because it helps you say what you think in your own way, for someone to alter your speech is to tell you what to think.
Right to Knowledge
I personally like the freedom to think whatever I want, it gives me the freedom to learn something I might not agree with, or learn something I never knew. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press go hand in hand. If you limit speech, you limit what the press can say. If you limit the press, you limit the ability to learn something new.
The freedom of the press is essential for the prevention of despotic governments. In the Bill of Rights, article 16 it states: “The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state: it ought not, therefore, to be restricted in this commonwealth.” It is important for the press to have the ability to report and inform the civilian populace of all its government’s actions and decisions, in order to prevent our rights from being subverted.
Secrecy is Repugnant
John F. Kennedy said on April 27th, 1961 “The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society.” In a Democracy we shouldn’t have a governing body that lies on our behalf, or tells us one thing and does another. As a united people we should not allow for others to represent us, unless they represent us truthfully and we fully agree with everything they are saying. The freedom of speech and of the press is the most important freedoms we have to me. That is why I joined the military and that is why I support the Constitution.
There should be no regulations on the freedom of speech, nothing anyone can say could ever actually cause anyone real physical harm. People have the choice to not let people’s words offend them. If you limit what a person says, you limit what you can say. As long as people’s words are not inciting violence that people are acting upon of course, speech should never be limited.
Misinformation and lying should be regulated with the press, facts should be the only thing reported.
I also reviewed a newspaper article that relates to free speech and the necessity of us to be aware of limitations that are happening, Free speech, civil discourse and preparing future leaders, by Taylor Eighmy, an Express-News contributor.
Lead By Example
The article focused on the recent protests happening across college campuses, specifically students at UTSA. She states “The polarization of our county — sometimes resulting in violent conflicts — are deeply rooted at the intersection of constitutionally guaranteed free speech and individual values.” This kind of illustrates the importance of civil discourse in a democratic society. Where everyone has a platform to voice their opinion and where not every opinion lines up with the opinion of everyone else. This illustrates the importance of civil discourse more than ever.
One of the biggest reflections from the article was the importance of teaching our kids, or younger generations the importance of civil discourse by modeling it for them. Being the example and helping them gain the tools, especially since kids tend to be influenced by the people they interact the most with. One of the most important things I thought was how they talked about the importance of civil discourse amongst university students. Where ideas are usually different, opinions are different and sometimes unpopular or offensive. Encouraging students to express their beliefs passionately and with conviction.
Open Lines of Communication
My initial reaction to this article is, yes! This is necessary more now than ever, as our nation has been set on a course that will try the future generations to come. People don’t know how to be offended in this nation. Everything is literal and everyone believes they have all the truth, that their opinion is more important than anyone else’s.
With this type of attitude existing amongst a free society, it is important to understand the freedom of speech and the power it holds through formulated civil discourse. We have to discuss the difficult topics, the issues no one wants to talk about, racism, sexism or any other type of issue you could imagine that would be controversial to say the least. You have to be open to the idea that you are more than likely going to be offended at some point and probably offend a lot of people in the process.
The future of this Nation relies on the younger generations and civil discourse is the path to unity. Finding understanding in our similarities, rather than conflict based off of our differences.
1. Adams, J. (7 July 1775). Quotes, from letter to Abigail. Retrieved January 14, 2019
2. James Madison (1780) U.S. Const. Bill of Rights, Article 16.
3. Kennedy, J. F. (n.d.). The President and the Press: Address before the American Newspaper Publishers Association April 27, 1961. Retrieved January 14, 2019
4. Eighmy, T. (2018, October 14). Free speech, civil discourse and preparing future leaders Retrieved Dec. 11, 2018