Sep 272007
Authors: Robyn Scherer

Due to recent events, many questions have been raised.

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 for government for a redress of grievances.”

The part I am particularly interested in is the part about prohibiting free speech.

The editorial that ran last Friday broke no laws, and the government has no right to punish anyone for what was said.

Some say this was using free speech, but I think it was abuse. And this one comment is not the only isolated incident of this abuse.

For a hundred years people have used the First Amendment to hide from what they say.

When saying something offensive, the response is always, “But the First Amendment says . ”

Well guess what? The First Amendment only says that you can say it. It does not protect you from the consequences that your words may bring.

Hiding behind the First Amendment is like hiding behind a glass wall. You may be protected for a while, but everyone can see you, and that glass can eventually be broken.

The problem with the First Amendment is that it allows people to say things, and then pretend they are not responsible.

If you steal a toy from another little kid at daycare, even if you say your mommy said you can, doesn’t make it right. People should think before they speak and then own up to their own actions once something offensive it said.

Apparently swearing at a public official is okay, but if you do the same with ethnic group, it is called hate speech.

Shouldn’t it all be hate speech?

Sure, you may not like someone or something, but if you are not willing to do anything about it, stop whining. If you are not willing to help make a change they why should you be allowed to criticize?

Shut up and sit down if you are not willing to back up your point.

I realize many people are upset with President Bush.

I asked many in support of the editorial if they are registered to vote and they said no. Isn’t this sort of ironic?

Sure, let’s cry about what we don’t like but when it comes down to it, not do anything to make a change. Sound familiar? It sure does to me.

Leonard Pitts, in an essay titled “You Also Have the Right to Tell a Bigot What You Think,” explored the right everyone has to speak.

My favorite line of this essay states, “so I could happily live the rest of my life without being reminded that this fool or that has the right to say what he thinks. Sure, he does. But you know what? We all do.”

Yes, you have your right to your opinion, but so does everyone else who lives in this country.

I, personally, believe the police have it right.

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

Now in most cases it’s not in a court of law, but your words will be against you.

So Use the First Amendment, but use it wisely. Do not abuse the privilege.

People may think living here can be bad, but try moving to a country where you are not allowed to criticize the government, or where you can say nothing at all without fear overshadowing you.

Stop taking your freedoms for granted. And please, when in doubt, exercise your right to remain silent, instead of your right to speak.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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