Political Debates and Freedom of Speech

Freedom Of Speech On College Campuses Is Important, But So Is Knowing Who You Might Offend

No one said we have to agree, but I say we have to be civil.

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Let me begin by saying I'm about as liberal as they come. I attend one of the most liberal colleges in America. Still, I'll listen to whatever you have to say because I value others' opinions just as much as I value my own.

Listening to people who disagree with me only further validates my own beliefs, at least it does most of the time and I don't mean this sarcastically; rather, hearing out the people whose views oppose mine simply reminds me that I'm right and you're wrong. JUST KIDDING. In all seriousness, I enjoy having conversations with conservatives. It's a fun challenge to debate important issues and come to a reasonable understanding.

Sometimes though, it is impossible, and I mean impossible to see someone else's perspective. Recently on my college campus, a few individuals caused an uproar when they began yelling offensive statements about various peoples' identities. Holding a sign that read "Ask me why you deserve hell," one woman listed off people she thought were worthy of the abyss, particularly homosexuals, drug users, atheists, etc. YADA YADA YADA. This woman made my day.

YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO EXERCISE YOUR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS.

And I know it might be hard for you, but I believe you can do that without making yourself look like a total loony who doesn't respect another person's right to live their life.

This woman on my campus obviously wasn't willing to compromise. She came to our quad, spewed offensive discourse, and deserved everything that came after. In response, students said nothing. Rather they demonstrated how they felt. One student began dancing inappropriately in front of her, causing the crowd to cheer in support of his identity and ability to be himself. Another took a more savage approach by simply lighting a joint in her face. Can I just say...I love college.

By all means, come an share your opinions and beliefs at our school. I will not yell at you or throw food at you, no matter how much I think you deserve it. Conservative speakers in the past have tried to share their rhetoric, and personally, I wouldn't mind listening. Other liberal students, however, wonder why such speakers feel the need to come to our campuses...we exist on the opposite end of the political spectrum. What do you have to gain from sharing your conservative views here? I'm simply curious.

I'm not a Berkeley student. No violent riots have erupted on my campus recently from political disagreements, as far as I know of. In 2017, my campus witnessed a nonviolent protest when Ben Shapiro came to speak. Strategically, students RSVP'd to the event, but since the event was free, they didn't show up, making Shapiro's audience much smaller than anticipated. But was this really a strategic move? NO. THIS IS WHAT CONSERVATIVES WANT. By limiting Shapiro's ability to deliver his speech, liberals appear to be undemocratic and anti-freedom.

We must be okay with hearing out views and opinions that differ from ours. We are college students. We should welcome the challenge rather than run from it. No one said it's easy and no one said a compromise or understanding will be met, but politics isn't about silencing the other side. We are all human and individual opinions deserve respect.

Still, just as any one person has the right to speak, another individual has just as much right to not listen. I'll listen, but I may not agree. FYI, but that's okay. Freedom of speech is okay. Not listening to you is okay. Being intentionally and blatantly offensive is not okay.

This is not a debate over how politically correct Americans should be. That's a whole new conversation. Speak your truth, just be mindful about it.

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I Might Have Aborted My Fetus When I Was 18, But Looking Back, I Saved A Child’s Life

It may have been one of the hardest decisions of my life, but I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't had done it.

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Due to recent political strife happening in the world today, I have decided to write on a very touchy, difficult subject for me that only a handful of people truly know.

When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion.

I was fresh out of high school, and deferring college for a year or two — I wanted to get all of my immature fun out so I was prepared to focus and work in the future. I was going through my hardcore party stage, and I had a boyfriend at the time that truly was a work of art (I mean truly).

Needless to say, I was extremely misinformed on sex education, and I never really thought it could happen to me. I actually thought I was invincible to getting pregnant, and it never really registered to me that if I had unprotected sex, I could actually get pregnant (I was 18, I never said I was smart).

I remember being at my desk job and for weeks, I just felt so nauseous and overly tired. I was late for my period, but it never really registered to me something could be wrong besides just getting the flu — it was November, which is the peak of flu season.

The first person I told was my best friend, and she came with me to get three pregnancy tests at Target. The first one came negative, however, the second two came positive.

I truly believe this was when my anxiety disorder started because I haven't been the same ever since.

Growing up in a conservative, Catholic Italian household, teen pregnancy and especially abortion is 150% frowned upon. So when I went to Planned Parenthood and got the actual lab test done that came out positive, I was heartbroken.

I felt like I was stuck between two roads: Follow how I was raised and have the child, or terminate it and ultimately save myself AND the child from a hard future.

My boyfriend at the time and I were beyond not ready. That same week, I found out he had cheated on me with his ex and finances weren't looking so great, and I was starting to go through the hardest depression of my life. Because of our relationship, I had lost so many friends and family, that I was left to decide the fate of both myself and this fetus. I could barely take care of myself — I was drinking, overcoming drug addictions, slightly suicidal and living with a man who didn't love me.

As selfish as you may think this was, I terminated the fetus and had the abortion.

I knew that if I had the child, I would be continuing the cycle in which my family has created. My goal since I was young was to break the cycle and breakaway from the toxicity in how generations of children in my family were raised. If I had this child, I can assure you my life would be far from how it is now.

If I had carried to term, I would have had a six-year old, and God knows where I would've been.

Now, I am fulfilling my future by getting a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, having several student leadership roles, and looking into law schools for the future.

Although it still haunts me, and the thought of having another abortion truly upsets me, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I get asked constantly "Do you think it's just to kill a valuable future of a child?" and my response to that is this:

It's in the hands of the woman. She is giving away her valuable future to an unwanted pregnancy, which then resentment could cause horror to both the child and the woman.

As horrible as it was for me in my personal experience, I would not be where I am today: a strong woman, who had overcome addiction, her partying stage, and ultimately got her life in order. If I would have had the child, I can assure you that I would have followed the footsteps of my own childhood, and the child would not have had an easy life.

Because of this, I saved both my life and the child's life.

And if you don't agree or you dislike this decision, tough stuff because this is my body, my decision, my choice — no one else.

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Everything You Need To Know About The New Abortion Ban In Several States

DISCLAIMER: the following does not include any of my personal beliefs/opinions.

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Abortion has and will always be a controversial and very sensitive topic for all genders. The following article delves into the details about the Alabama abortion ban that was signed to be a law which, if it passes, will be in effect January 2020 and briefly touches on the Georgia Heartbeat Bill.

Roe v. Wade (1973)

In 1973, Roe v. Wade 410 was passed in the U.S. by the Supreme Court. In short, this ruled that the Due Process Clause along with the 14th Amendment in the Constitution would work to give pregnant women the choice to choose whether or not they wanted an abortion AND should coincide with the government's personal agenda to protect the health of all who is involved. What I mean by this is that the Supreme Court decided during the second trimester of a pregnancy, abortions would be allowed. But, if it is the third trimester, abortion is to be prohibited unless the health of the mother is in danger. This law catapulted the abortion debate which is still going on today.


Abortion vs. Alabama

Alabama's governor, Kay Ivey, signed off on a bill that will basically ban all abortions, including rape, incest, any abnormality, and if the mother's life is in danger on May 14, 2019 after acquiring approval from 25 Senators . This could be a problem considering that it very much contradicts Roe v. Wade (1973). To Ivey, the bill is a reflection of the values in which the citizens of Alabama believe: all life is precious and a gift from God.


Governor of the State of Alabama, Kay Ivey (pictured above). home.bt.com

The governor of Georgia also signed a bill to ban abortion after detecting the slightest heartbeat which is approximately around the six-week pregnancy period (around the time most women discover that they are pregnant). Another important take on this is that despite the rift and debate that is going on between Democrats and Republicans, most Republicans believe that Roe v. Wade will be overturned. This is looking more like a possibility considering most of the Supreme Court consists of people who support the Republican party. In short, the main idea is to ban abortion in all of the United States, not just in some states like it is currently. In regards to Alabama, the bill still has not been enacted into a law and could possibly encounter delay in the Supreme Court because, after all, this is a very debated topic. For now, abortion is still legal until January 2020 or when it becomes a law.

Conditions of the Abortion Law

The conditions of the abortion law explicitly states that abortion during any stage of a pregnancy is prohibited and if any medical professional aids in the practice/procedure of an abortion, they will face up to 99 years in prison. If an attempt is made to perform an abortion procedure, an individual can be sentenced to 10 years in prison. Women who successfully get an abortion or attempt to will be prosecuted as well. However, only those who provide another with an abortion will be punished in Alabama, not the one receiving the service.

No form of abortion is allowed including: rape, incest, life-threatening abnormality, or putting the life of the mother in danger.


Alabama expected to approve controversial abortion bill www.youtube.com


Two Sides to the Debate

Although most Republicans support the law, the Democratic party has combatted the notion of it. Many opponents of the ban state that the restriction can put the lives of many in danger and affects women of color and those who are living in poverty heavily. ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights have also declared that they will sue. Many young people have also reached out to social media websites such as Twitter and Instagram to voice their opinions:

Tweets from individuals who are anti-abortion ban www.wnd.com

Many celebrities have also stated their opinions on the matter. Rihanna stated in one of her Instagram posts, "Take a look," referring to a picture of 25 Senators in Alabama who approved the abortion bill, "These are the idiots making decisions for WOMEN in America. Governor Kay Ivey...SHAME ON YOU!!!"

Although both sides clearly have their opinions on the debate of pro-life/pro-choice, one thing we all can agree on is that this will be a long process that can make or break the lives of a lot of people in our nation.

Until next time,

Salsa.

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