Freedom of speech is a thing.

Yeah, Political Correctness Is Cool, But What About Our First Amendment Right?

I want to live in a world where people can express how they feel without causing a riot, is that too much to ask?

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Let me begin by saying, I consider myself to be pretty liberal. I believe in freedom of speech and protecting that right. I'm also a college student in California, which means I've experienced conservative speakers stepping on my campus to spew their ideas.

What encourages these individuals to come to some of the most liberal schools? At first, I didn't understand why conservative speakers would even want to step foot on a liberal college campus.

In 2017, right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos attempted to speak at the University of California at Berkeley. Following protests and riots, more than $100,000 worth of damage resulted. While many of the protestors were unaffiliated with the college, President Trump issued a statement threatening to seize federal funds for UC Berkeley.

Posted to Twitter, because Trump knows that the fastest way he'll get all the attention he so desperately needs, Trump tweeted: "If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view — NO FEDERAL FUNDS?"

Ok, here is the problem. As much as it pains us liberal college students to allow people with obviously opposing views to step foot on our turf, WE HAVE TO.

Here me out. Liberals are supposed to protect free speech, right? Political Correctness is important to practice because language or policies that are meant to cause offense is not something Americans or America should be proud of. Political correctness attempts to avoid offense to particular groups of people in society, so please tell me why this is a bad thing.

Political correctness is not a bad practice. What can be bad, however, is being "too" politically correct. Sometimes balancing the truth and protecting people's feelings is impossible, and here lies the issue at hand.

When college students on liberal campuses like myself prohibit conservative speakers from sharing their beliefs and exercising their first amendment rights, we become the bad guy. We cannot do this, or it will lead to our own demise. When liberals begin telling conservatives they must be politically correct, that is one thing. Political correctness is a good goal to have. Yet, when liberals begin keeping conservative from speaking because of what they have to say, liberals become undemocratic.

I know it's hard. I don't agree with a lot of things conservatives say. I want more people, in general, to adopt political correctness because I am tired of hearing offensive stereotypes, hurtful comments, and overall hate about fellow American citizens.

Can't you say what you need to say without causing others pain?

No, apparently not...and that's the problem about political correctness. Those who do not support its claim that by practicing political correctness, their point is not getting across. When you have to sugarcoat it, the message is lost, or at least that's what people claim when they oppose being politically correct.

I don't understand this in the slightest. I was raised to be kind to others and when I have advantages, I place myself in other peoples' shoes to remind myself to be humble. But some people don't practice the same morals. That's ok.

But political correctness is not the culprit. Me being kind and nonoffensive is not the same thing as me taking away your first amendment right of free speech. Some people don't understand this relationship, however, and thus, political correctness is heavily debated in today's America.

I don't want to limit anyone's freedom of speech. I don't want to appear undemocratic by striving for politically correct language. I don't want liberals like me to be condemned for being unamerican when all we ask is for kindness, compassion, and understanding when you come to our campus.

I do hope America can one day be a hate-free zone where varying beliefs can be practiced without difficulty. Until then, say what you gotta say because it's your right. But please, just be mindful of others when you do.

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Austin Alexander Burridge, Volunteer Advocate, Shares 3 Great Reasons to Volunteer and Help Others

Austin Alexander Burridge is an avid academic who studies Environmental Science at Winona State University and believes that work in the service of others is a key pillar to personal development.

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Sometimes it's easy for someone to adopt a "me, me, me" attitude. While focusing on oneself, a person may feel nice in the moment, but serving and helping others will bring lasting benefits. While there are many great reasons to serve and help others, there are three universal truths that resonate with volunteers around the globe.

Austin Alexander Burridge's 3 Reasons to Volunteer:

1. Accomplishment

Often, people fall into a trap of focusing on themselves when they are feeling down. Maybe someone did not get a job they wanted. Or perhaps a person gets dumped by an expected lifelong companion. Maybe someone feels they have underachieved after looking at Facebook and seeing great things a high school classmate has accomplished. When feeling down, helping others is a proven way to improve one's mood and attitude, and it can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. The act of giving to those in need is an inherently good action and leaves people with a wonderful feeling of joy.

2. Gratitude

One can become more appreciative of life by serving others that have less. Whether volunteering at a soup kitchen, visiting the elderly at an assisted living center, or helping families after a natural disaster, service enables people to be grateful for what they have. Seeing people who have fewer advantages, especially those who are spirited and thankful for small things, allows one to realize just how fortunate he/she is in life.

3. Friendships

Volunteering is a great way to build meaningful friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with those who are served. One of the most profound and fascinating aspects of these relationships is how volunteers will learn from those served and vice versa. As these special bonds are built, they lead to impactful connections that last for years to come.

Of course, these are just a few reasons to volunteer and serve others. One can never go wrong by helping others as opposed to merely focusing on oneself. Volunteering invariably and inevitably contributes to personal growth, development, and satisfaction.

About Austin Alexander Burridge: Helping others has been of paramount importance to Austin, and as a part of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), Austin gave back to the community around him. He also has participated in annual peanut butter drives, The Minnesota Sandwich Project for the Homeless and collected canned goods for local food shelters. Additionally, Austin has a passion for the environment, which he pursued when visiting the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, and the Amazon Rain Forest while studying at the School of Environment Studies, which investigates ecological systems and their sustainability

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American Or Christian?

Can you really be both?

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This is a thought that has lingered in my mind for a very long time.

Personally, I hate news and politics. It's depressing and it seems like both parties (and people in general) just don't get it. Political conversation gets on my ever-loving nerves and literally gets me down in the dumps for the day.

I just simply don't watch it anymore. There is too much negativity.

That doesn't mean that I am uniformed. I am not advocating for ignorance or anything like that. I prefer to read and figure out my information from sites "in the middle."

As I was eating dinner with my wife the other day we started talking about the new Abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia. As a Christ-follower and a staunch defender of Biblical inerrant, I detest abortion.

Before you read any farther, you must understand something: This article is not about my defense of my beliefs regarding hot topics like abortion or homosexuality. I do not have the time to write about said topics now. I am just asking you to accept what I believe for the sake of the article.

But, anyway, these abortion bills. I can make a pretty good case that they are Constitutional because they are protecting the Life (one of the Rights given to American Citizens) from others. Yes, I know the arguments against said point but continue with me please.

This led our conversation to talk about Homosexual marriage, something that I am against as well. And not just because of Leviticus but because of the New Testament as well.

But, shaking my head, I said something that my wife seemed to agree with:

"As a Christian, I know it's wrong and I cannot agree with it. As an American, I see no reason why it should be illegal. Unless your choices infringe someone's Rights, you should be free to do what you wish (technically speaking)."

This is my dilemma. Well, actually it's not a dilemma. I know that I am a Christian before I am an American. I love this country greatly, and I know how blessed I am to be born here. For all the hate this country gets (and some of it is deserved) and all the problems we have (and we have a lot), we are shoulders above other countries in many ways. I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served to protect me and keep me safe. I'm thankful for a lot of things. And I am proud to be an American.

But my identity in Christ comes first. This is why I do not get into politics much. I don't really care at the end of the day. Because while America has been blessed, we still have work to do here. And this is not my forever home. This is not where I will spend eternity.

I try and respect everyone's opinions, and I earnestly try to love everyone, even when they trash and disrespect my beliefs and convictions. But I must put my call to Christ about anything that has to do with this nation. I will pray for ALL our leaders because I was told to do so (I prayed for President Obama when he was in office). And I will be here to support this nation. But I cannot put it above Christ's commands.

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