A Few Things We Need To Remember About The First Amendment
Start writing a post

A Few Things We Need To Remember About The First Amendment

Why we need to remember the first amendment, especially now, when our free expression is slowly being taken away.

A Few Things We Need To Remember About The First Amendment

What makes America great? Our Founding Fathers based the pillars of American democracy by a quote from John Locke, “Life, Liberty, and Property” (later changed by Thomas Jefferson to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”). Our Founding Fathers wanted to be clear as to what natural born rights all American citizens would have. The Constitution expressed the powers given to the three branches of government, the States, and the sovereign people.

Although, the Constitution does not expressly give natural born rights to the American citizens, which the people feared that the government may turn into a tyranny. Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father, drafted the Bill of Rights. Ten amendments to the Constitution, which explained the rights of every U.S. citizen that the U.S. government could not take away.

The first amendment gives the American people the freedom to express themselves. The first amendment depicts that the American people have the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, and the freedom of the press.

Although some Americans now want to rid these basic pillars of democracy through the shunning words, the ostracizing of specific religions, and the claiming of facts as “fake-news." Therefore, what makes American great is the freedom of expression, not the freedom of discrimination.

The freedom of speech is a fairly new concept when we talk about the rights given to the people. Under monarchies, tyrannies, and dictatorships, speaking against the government or leadership could result in imprisonment and/or execution. When talking about the freedom of speech, George Washington explained the importance of this natural born right, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent may we be led, like sheep to the slaughterhouse."

The freedom of speech grants every living soul the ability to express and think freely. To restrict words from being used to distort the truth is how, George Orwell’s, 1984, came to be. The pen is mightier than the sword when one has to fight to keep an idea of free thought alive.

America grants all citizens the right to the freedom of speech, but our newest Commander in Chief has restricted words such as: global warming, transgender, and science-based, from being used by the CDC. To deny the use of these words is denying the rights of the American people to freely express themselves.

When proper wording is restricted from use, the people become confused, disoriented when confronted with truth. Words hold power to fight against the oppression of government. The removing of net-neutrality is the modern- day book burning. The regulation of free information isn’t only toxic for the American people who will lack the access to unlimited knowledge, but it will stunt the growth and evolution of American society.

The Nationalist-Socialist Party of Nazi Germany burned books to hide the truth from people, and their people were ill-advised to the truths of the fascist regime that had taken over. What makes America great is the freedom to speak, not the freedom to restrict.

The freedom of religion is an American institution that separated the American government from other governments around the world in the 18th century. With the separation of church and state in the U.S., it set the mold for future democratic nations to limit the amount of bigotry towards other religions. With the American government not having a religion to govern the laws of the land, all people are freely able to practice their beliefs without the fear of the government restrictions.

Sadly, today we face the threat of the government imposing their religious morality on U.S. citizens, and foreign persons migrating to the U.S. To restrict the migration of people from countries such as Syria and Iraq based on religious affiliation is in direct violation of the freedom of religion.

People from countries such as Syria and Iraq tend to have Islamic beliefs, and the U.S. subjugation of the Islamic religion is damaging to the institution of separation of church and state. The government has no right to enforce religious morals on the American people, and when religion plays a part in politics we become a theocracy.

John Adams made it quite clear early in American politics that, “The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.” The infringement of the freedom of religion causes the American people to be fearful and afraid of differing religions from their own.

The purpose of freedom of religion is to make one comfortable with their neighbor to know that what they practice does not have to be hidden, and can be accepted in all forms. What makes America great is the freedom of religion, not the freedom of oppression.

Finally, we come to the freedom of the press. The freedom of the press is the freedom to knowledge. When the government has control over the press, propaganda reigns, and when the government criticizes the press, it is no longer believed as true. The Soviet Union had control over the press, and in doing so were able to manipulate the people into what the government wanted them to believe. That is the power of propaganda. The easiest way to manipulate a people as a whole is to make them believe something has always been there when it hasn’t.

When you manipulate the press, and there is no other way to know the information then it is hard not to believe the press that is given.

The people of North Korea believe that Kim Jung Un is an all-powerful ruler because all that they see says so. If all you know are lies, how do you know what you are reading isn’t the truth?

The other way the government can attack the freedom of the press is to literally attack the press head-on. The American people will now claim that the press is issuing “fake-news”, or false claims if they speak against the leadership of the United States. When doing this we remove all substance from what we are reading. To cause disbelief in the press takes away the legitimacy of statements. When you don’t know where to put your trust in you lose focus on the truth, “A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad”- Albert Camus.

When there is an attack on the press, when the press is not given freedom, then all the press we get is bad press. George Bernard Shaw puts it best in the statement, “Beware of false knowledge; it is more damaging than ignorance." What makes America great is the freedom of the press, not the freedom of manipulation

America has its many faults when it comes to impeding on the rights of the people. We force our ideas on others who do not see the same as we do. We don’t understand how the other side can be so close-minded when they see us exactly the same. We can’t stand that the other has differing views, but that is what makes America great.

The freedom and the ability to say and think all those things. The freedom to criticize others for what they say, believe, or read. We have that ability as American citizens to do all of those things. Although when our government encroaches on our rights as a people, that is when it is time to stand as a sovereign nation, and remind our government our rights as a people. No law, no leader, and no government should ever take away our freedoms.

Our Founding Fathers knew that one day we would be faced with a possible threat to our freedoms, and to join opposing sides arm in arm to make sure those rights are never infringed upon. What makes America great is the freedom of power, not the freedom of servitude.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

An Open Letter To My Grandpa In Heaven

If Heaven wasn't so far away, I'd be there every day.

Nikki Wright

Dear Grandpa,

Keep Reading... Show less

That Feeling of Opening Day

What it means and What Happened

That Feeling of Opening Day

Baseball's Opening Day has inspired countless writers, fans, and players throughout the years. Some notable quotes we remember about this special day are:

Keep Reading... Show less

To The 'Best Friend' I Decided I Couldn't Be Friends With Anymore

Most of all, thank you for being the person who finally pushed me to choose myself.

The CW / YouTube

Dear Old Friend,

Keep Reading... Show less

7 Tips For Traveling

Don't miss any of these ideas to make your trip complete!

7 Tips For Traveling

Whether it's a day trip, an out-of-state journey, or an experience leaving the country, here are some tried and true traveling tips.

Before any trip, we all think about what to pack and what to bring. We may have a strict itinerary, or we may have looser guidelines for what to do when. But we should also consider the following - make them goals:

Keep Reading... Show less

Writer of the Month: Hunter Johnstone

As an aspiring author, Hunter knew writing for Odyssey would be a great fit for her.

Writer of the Month: Hunter Johnstone

Response writers are what make the world go round at Odyssey! Using our response button feature, they carry on our mission of sparking positive, productive conversations in a polarized world.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments