The First Amendment

The First Amendment

An Epitome of Conflict
10
views

Charlottesville. Baltimore. Tucson. Chicago. DC. Shall we continue?

Among the things every city in the US has in common, protesting is one of them. Whether it be walking in the neighborhood with signs, standing on the street corner and yelling at cars, or even threatening and performing violence just to get a point across. In all its glory, the first amendment, although secure with statutes and limitations, has provided those who choose to find loopholes to create them. Because of this, the divide in the nation continues to get wider and bigger, at an almost unpreventable speed.

One idea; a single thought. That’s all it takes to start a conversation. Our country was built within the span of democracy and the freedom to argue and have a say in how we live and under what rules we abide by. Although this doesn’t mean we wrote The Constitution, we’ve been able to freely speak our minds with the hopes of opening ears to what we as Americans want to see change. Unfortunately, the childish manners of getting upset when we don’t get what we want has been happening since this country was founded. Some using just words to speak their mind, while others use militant force to project their view. Legal ramifications had taken place, but it’s not stopped anyone from posing their rights.

Law enforcement are present to protect those who are peaceful, but when actions turn extreme, their army to protect gets bigger and more powerful. How do they decide when to step in? When does the lightbulb go off that the peaceful protest is no longer safe?

The most recent example of unlawful protests is Charlottesville. The ‘Unite the Right’ rally was held by ‘white supremacists’ promoting their ideas and views. While some came armed and ready to fight, some came to march and capture the violence, and others were there just to observe. Unfortunately, the extremity of the actions of those shouting their beliefs were amplified, and a young demonstrator, Heather Heyer, was killed in the line of a car driving into the crowd. Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, said this:

“We are going to have our differences, we are going to be angry with each other, but let’s channel that anger not into hate, not into violence, not into fear, but let’s channel that difference and fear into righteous action.”

What does the First Amendment say? What defines what we are doing?

The First Amendment states Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The First amendment states its purpose loud and clear; this amendment provides freedom of speech so long as it is executed in civilized manner. Because of all the statutes, limitations, and legal precedents, it would seem hard to do these actions without getting in trouble. While authority figures have addressed protests and their violent nature time and time again, there is no stopping the ruthless and determined individuals or groups who have a soapbox to stand on and a belief they want to project. These people have demonstrated they will preach whatever they wish, at all expense; expense of themselves, those around them, including innocent civilians or fellow participants, and even the country.

I understand why there are protests, everyone has an opinion they want to give. That’s the problem. They want to create awareness and want people to listen. But, why would someone try to force their beliefs on someone but won’t even listen to someone else’s? Protesters and people who act in violence use this amendment as an excuse to use excessive force and abuse the democratic principles this country was founded on. I know some can argue that this country isn’t a democracy anymore, but a democracy represents our core values, and people are taking advantage and trying to destroy them.

With a new president and a close of a decade coming up, now is not the time to spread lies and incite issues, now is the time to create our own history, a better history. Now is the time to improve our country, not tear it down. The First Amendment, although amazing, is one of the most controversial and most abused amendments in our constitution. It is our power in how we use it.

Cover Image Credit: euclidlibrary.org

Popular Right Now

An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.
132582
views

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Sorry People, But #BelieveWomen Is #UnAmerican

Presumption of innocence is a core American value

737
views

There's a saying: "Lack of faith and blind faith - both are equally dangerous". Believing sexual assault accusers who are women just because they are women besides being the very definition of sexist - prejudice based on sex - is setting a harmful precedent on the way justice is served in this country. See, what this movement has done is changed justice from "prove guilt" to "prove innocence", an important and incredibly dangerous difference. Where is the due process that our Founding Fathers envisioned, fought, and died for?

Due process is an integral part of the reason why we have the United States of America. It was so important to our Founding Fathers that they included it in the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eight (the Bill of Rights), and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. It galls me to see how privileged modern day feminists are - so privileged they seemingly forget the freedoms this country affords them, so they may live their life, expect liberty, and be unhindered in their pursuit of happiness.

#BelieveWomen is a vigilante movement - and with vigilante justice the innocent always hang with the guilty, one of the very reasons for due process. I've heard the argument it's better to let innocent men rot in jail than have rapist men walk free, an argument, despite being incredibly moronic and unAmerican, that would not be made if the accused was a man close to the woman's heart. Because with the change to "prove innocence", the assumption will be guilt, and a confirmation bias will be created. Whereas if the assumption is innocence, the jury must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime has occurred. I understand that a high percentage of rape accusations are truthful (I believe the number is in the high 90s), but the small percentage that are not means we cannot, in good conscience, assume guilt. To assume would damn some men to a fate they do not deserve, a fate they would have to endure simply because of their sex. Any real feminist should be appalled at how sexism is implicitly encouraged in this movement.

If you choose to #BelieveWomen in spite of everything I outlined, that is your prerogative, but you must #BelieveAllWomen. If your father, husband, boyfriend, or son gets accused, you must #BelieveWomen and stand with their accuser. Any less and your feminist privilege will show. Vocal #MeToo activist Lena Dunham has already shown her privilege - accusing actress Aurora Perrineau of lying about being assaulted by her friend Murray Miller. When the going gets hard, feminists rarely stick to their principles. And sadly, feminism - and the double standards it always brings - rears its ugly head once again.

Related Content

Facebook Comments