Teen columnist: Don’t take free speech for grantedby Stephanie J. Zawada on Jun. 03, 2008, under Opinion
Today, in the United States of America, our history and heritage are being forgotten.
We seem to have forgotten that each signer of the Declaration of Independence risked everything he possessed by standing up for what he believed in.
Not only were the Founding Fathers against prejudice, but they were also against censorship, as proven in the Constitution.
They threw political correctness out the window when they wrote the First Amendment, granting all Americans the right to speak their mind, no matter how offensive the message.
The First Amendment not only protects my right to speak, but also allows me to know what those around me stand for, thus giving me another layer of protection.
Action and speech are different things. Americans have the right to speak against something, but a physical attack on opponents is against the law.
Our Founding Fathers drew up the Constitution carefully and with enough wisdom to set the guidelines for a nation unlike any other.
They reasoned that if people were given the right to express their opinions through speech without being censored, they would be more likely to enter into dialogue and grow as a society than to start riots throughout the country.
Sharing opinions is a healthy exchange of intellects, something the Founding Fathers obviously liked to partake in.
By drawing up precious documents such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they created a nation that epitomized the greatest combination of man’s efforts throughout history – a society of peoples of all nations, creeds and dreams united in one goal for peace through freedom.
We have the right to free speech, to practice a religion or not, to live however our conscience deems acceptable.
Sadly, organizations abroad and at home – such as the ACLU, Hate Hurts America and CAIR – are trying to take these freedoms away.
While chasing down some people, they leave others, usually with their point of view or in accordance with their agenda, free to speak.
Winston Churchill once said, “Some people’s idea of (free speech) is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.”
Often, when I’ve heard someone make a comment, I hear a response such as “You’re racist” or “You hate.”
We’ve gone from listening to another person’s point of view and then reflecting on it to automatically going on the offense. Even the display of Old Glory has become an offensive act.
Every article I have written this past year is filled with my opinions.
You have the right to agree or disagree with them, and I have the right to express them. These rights are the backbone of the very vision that our nation was built upon.
If you attack freedom of speech, you’re attacking freedom. If you attack freedom, you attack America.
To speak your mind has always been part of the American way of life. It is a sacred trust handed down from our Founding Fathers to today’s generation.
If we do not dedicate ourselves to protecting the American way of life now, then when will the time come?