Why Protecting The Free Press Is Our Most Important Job Right Now

Why Protecting The Free Press Is Our Most Important Job Right Now

My voice is just as important as any one else's, regardless of political party.

Last week I read a great article from the New York Times by Jim Rutenberg headlined "Independent Press Is Under Siege as Freedom Rings." Reading it around the Fourth of July, I remembered the value of our First Amendment and its true meanings.

Here are a few things that bother me: people who yell ignorant, racist, homophobic, or misogynistic slurs and think that they get a free pass because of "free speech." Free speech does not encourage a shut-down of everyone whose beliefs do not align with yours. And this behavior is certainly not something that should be encouraged by others (let alone our president.)

What should be encouraged is a civil and rational discussion of viewpoints, especially opposing ones, that end in a better understanding of each other. Realizing that there cannot always be a compromise, and realizing that neither party's mind will be changed by these discussions, is crucial. But if we can understand each other better, at least we are moving forward.

Here's where the free press comes in: if our president slams every news outlet which does not praise him to the ground (yes, I am referencing the aggressive tweet towards CNN) how can we even begin to engage in this two-way discussion?

And why is it that the people who yell "free speech" when they want to insult someone are the same people who yell "fake news" when a journalist calls our president out on his wrongdoings?

If you have free speech, then so do I. I deserve just as much opportunity to express my opinions against President Trump as someone who agrees with him. That is what free speech means. It runs both ways. We have left-wing news outlets, and right-wing news outlets, and independent news outlets. We don't just pick one. That isn't free press; it's censorship.

I reserve the rights to make my own decisions, have my own opinions, and maintain self-respect. None of that will include being silenced out of fear. Just as other people will have their say, I will also have mine.

For me, protecting the freedom of the press is important because it means protecting my ability to say what I want to say, write what I want to write, and be who I want to be without fear. President Trump will not get a "free pass" on attacking journalists for doing their jobs.

The New York Times reported Courtney Radsch, advocacy director for the Committee to Protect Journalists, stating, "Targeting individual journalists or media outlets, on- or off-line, creates a chilling effect and fosters an environment where further harassment, or even physical attack, is deemed acceptable." I could not have said this any better myself, and I commend Ms. Radsch for all her work.

To cower in fear of a loud-mouthed, ignorant figurehead is to disrespect myself. To feel as if I have to hide my opinions is to disrespect myself. To think that I cannot stand up to a disrespectful man because he is the president is to disrespect myself.

And I will not disrespect myself.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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10 Times Barack Obama Was Daddy AF

Plz, come back.

It's been a long known fact that Barack Obama was one of the sexiest presidents of all time. I mean who couldn't fall in love with those dreamy eyes, that gorgeous smile and his killer personality with a height to match? Let's just say 44 is still making me feel some type of way.

Here are 10 times President Obama was Daddy AF.

1. When he appeared on the Ellen show.

2. When he "Slow Jammed the News" on the Tonight Show.

3. Whenever he said "south side of Chicago".

4. Every time he danced.

5. When he listened to music.

6. When he wore Ray Bans.

7. When he made bromances great again.

8. When he was cool with making fun of himself.

9. Literally every time he smiled.

10. When he showed us he is actually a pro at windsurfing.

Cover Image Credit: Barack Obama / Instagram

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6 People Who Would Probably Be A Better Commander-In-Chief Than 'The Donald'

You might not agree with me, and that's OK! That's why this is an opinion piece.

As you may know, it is about halfway through February right now. February is known across the USA as Black History Month. March, which is coming up soon, is also Women's History Month. Given how crappily our current president has treated black people and women during well, most of his life in the media, I thought it would be fun to compile a cute little list of some black people and women (and a few who are both!) who would be a better president than Donald Trump.

*Please take this list with a grain of salt. I am merely a college freshman trying her best. I'm not actually in support of more Hollywood celebrities holding America's highest office.

Off to the races we go! Here are six people of one or more minority group who I think would be better in office than "The Donald."

1. Tammy Duckworth

I'm very proud of Tammy Duckworth as she's from my home state of Illinois. A disabled female Asian-American veteran, Duckworth now serves her country as a senator from Illinois. Before becoming a senator, she represented a district of Illinois in the House of Representatives. She lost both of her legs when the helicopter she was piloting was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. With her military knowledge as well as her government service, she could be a real powerhouse in the Oval Office.

2. Laverne Cox

In case you missed my little disclaimer in the introduction of this piece, I'm not actually a fan of the idea that more Hollywood personalities should run for President. However, I do think there are many Hollywood personalities that do notable enough activism work at the moment that they would do well in an official government position, and Laverne Cox is one of them.

You may know her as Sophia on "Orange is the New Black," but in real life, she's just as awesome. As a black transwoman, she often promotes awareness for LGBTQ+ youth as well as racial issues. She is the first open transwoman to be on the cover of TIME magazine, as well as paving the way for many other transgender people of the future.

3. Elizabeth Warren

Warren, during the 2016 election, was a favorite of many Bernie supporters due to their collaboration on multiple bills in the Senate. There was also speculation after Hillary won the nomination of the Democratic National Party that Senator Warren, who is from Massachusetts, might be chosen to be Clinton's vice president. However, Tim Kaine was chosen for Clinton's ticket.

Warren has long been in the public eye as a high-profile law professor at many universities even before running for her seat in the Senate in 2012. She supports green energy, voting rights, and is decidedly opposed to Trump's administration.

4. Leslie Knope

Okay, yeah. Leslie Knope is not a real person, and I would not support Amy Poehler as a presidential candidate despite how much I love her portrayal of this character. Leslie Knope has a long history in the government, both small and big-time, and is very dedicated to the people and places she loves. She's very organized, has binders and binders full of ideas, and can become very focused on passion projects. Those are all qualities that our current president does not have that I believe would be very beneficial to the American people if he did.

She's also very feminist, which would always be a nice addition.

5. Deray McKesson

During the Ferguson riots and protests in October of 2014, this Baltimore teacher and activist essentially moved to St. Louis to help organize protests and marches. Eventually, he ran for mayor of Baltimore but lost. He often volunteered his time before the Ferguson protests helping underprivileged children in Baltimore, but upon temporarily moving to St. Louis he was often seen at protests and was even arrested a few times.

His activism may not be a selling point for some who disagree with the Black Lives Matter movement, but would someone who has a problem with this particular candidate I've chosen even read this article? Would they support any of the other people I have decided to put on this list? Probably not. Anyways, McKesson is now continuing his activist pursuits and recently even came to talk at Louisiana State University (Geaux Tigers!) about social justice.

6. Michelle Obama

You knew she was going to be on this list, right? She was a wonderful role model as First Lady and continues to charm the American people with her muscular arms and interactions with the populace. Although she wonderfully fulfilled the role of First Lady while her husband was President, many forget that she is also a graduate of Harvard Law School and has often tried to help better her hometown of Chicago. While she has not yet launched her own political career, I could easily see it happening soon — even if she doesn't ever end up in a bid for her husband's old job.

Cover Image Credit: The White House / Instagram

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