You may have heard recently about the attempts to ban free speech among some conservative students in different parts of the country. Kids with “MAGA” hats are often persecuted or have things thrown at them all because some don’t agree with their views. This should never happen in America.
Perhaps you think that it’s okay if you don’t like what some of these kids are saying. But the truth is that all speech is protected in America except for speech that might present a danger to others.
For example, you can’t yell, “Fire!” in a movie theater unless there really is a fire. This is because if you say there’s a fire, it may cause people to panic, and some people could get hurt trying to get out of the theater. It also causes severe anxiety among people who hear this and they could have a heart attack or some other physical reaction that is life-threatening.
But it’s important to note that causing anxiety alone is not a good reason to ban speech. There are times when it is anxiety-provoking to hear the truth about something. Let’s say your dog is missing and he’s been gone for two days. You are worried because you wonder if something happened to him. A neighbor or friend say a car hit your dog and run from the scene. They know it would hurt you to tell you the truth so they decide not to tell you. Is that what you’d want them to do?
By deciding for themselves that the information they had would alarm you or make you nervous, they decided to keep this information from you. What they did by banning the speech that would have allowed you to find out the truth where you could seek justice was that they took away your choice. Now the hit-and-run driver could go free without ever paying for the damages they caused. You loved your dog. Perhaps you had him for much of your life. It would hurt to know what happened, especially if the friend did it on purpose.
But withholding this information is worse because it stops justice from being done and always leaves you wondering what happened to your dog.
This is just a simple everyday example of the negative consequences of banning free speech. If conservative or Christian students are prohibited from speaking, everyone could be banned from speaking when someone else is in charge or the rules or priorities change.
So remember that you have the right to speak out on your political views, your religious beliefs, your ideas, and anything else you want to speak about.
Your rights to freedom of speech are guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution. But what many young people do not understand is that there are other rights also guaranteed by the First Amendment, including the following:
- Freedom of religion
- Freedom of the Press
- Freedom of Expression
- Right to Bear Grievances
- Right to Petition
- Right to Peacefully Assemble
Read the First Amendment and you’ll understand how the United States is one of the freest nations in the world due to these important rights. Freedom of the Press allows people to report the facts without being silenced. This does not mean journalists should be irresponsible and report fake news and many do. But it will enable the Press to give the fact and to comment on them and takes the stance that the individual should research for themselves to decide what they believe.
Freedom of Expression and the right to bear grievances allows you to express your complaints against any person or government office that violates your rights. Petition rights will enable you to start and sign petitions and distribute them to others to bring forth an essential issue to a legislative body such as Congress.
You also have the right to assemble peacefully to discuss a problem, but this does not mean you can start a riot or create disorder.
The US Government, since our founding, has tried to tread carefully so as not to disrupt the rights of the individuals, while keeping law and order. But it is dependent upon good people who want to do the right thing to keep it working right.
If you have been told you cannot promote your political ideas or say something on your campus (or anywhere), you may have a case against the individuals who prohibited you from speaking. There are going to be many lawsuits coming from individuals and journalists who have been banned or defamed on social media and other platforms because their First Amendment rights were violated.
President Donald Trump is working hard to see that these rights are protected. They are there for you. They are there for me. Study the Constitution. Know your rights. Congress does not have the authority to take them away, nor does anyone else.
Be thankful, as you prepare for college and your lifelong career, that you live in a nationalist, sovereign country where you can speak your mind without the threat of the Government punishing you for it. Perhaps you will even want to start a career in Politics where you can have power over the decisions that will be made in future years.