The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Advertisement
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Advertisement
Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 16, 2024

Texas A&M baseball sophomore RF Jace LaViolette is known for his bat — and for good reason. LaViolette ranks sixth in the country in home...

Advertisement
Enjoying the Destination
Enjoying the Destination
Cara Hudson, Maroon Life writer • June 17, 2024

Editor's note: This article is sponsored content. All photos were provided by Visit Bryan. For the history buffs, there’s a story to why...

Advertisement
Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
Saves and a robbery
June 16, 2024

An Observation on the Freedom of Speech

With the progression of the Internet, the availability of expressing one’s opinions have become easier and easier. Before online forums, Facebook and Twitter, people could only convey their thoughts to the people who would listen to them. Now we are bombarded every day with rants and videos from anyone with a smartphone or computer. As a journalist, the first amendment is paramount in my mind. However, as the issues have grown over time, the idea of free speech has become a difficult debate, especially on college campuses. Are safe spaces a necessary idea? Are protecting the feelings of students more important than their right to speak their mind? I aim to review the first amendment and its history, look at the opposing viewpoints concerning this right and try to give a fair opinion on my thoughts on free speech.

When the first citizens of the United States broke away from the crown of England, they wanted to create a country where its citizens had the rights that were refused to them by their own government. As the constitution was drafted, the founding fathers also included the Bill of Rights to ensure those privileges were protected, breaking the cycle of power and control over its people.
The first amendment reads, “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.” So speech is the right for any citizen to express speech verbally, written or symbolically, as long as it does not bring about a breach of peace.
Over time the questions of what speech entails, safe spaces and restriction of speech have become issues at the forefront of the public’s mind. There are some who would want to stop people like the members of Westboro Baptist Church from protesting soldiers’ funerals, restrict the burning of crosses or not allow people to express their hateful opinions. However, while the things people say might be belligerent or incorrect, we can’t rank the feelings and the moral beliefs of individuals or groups higher than the rights of all people in our country.
While it’s hard to hear, see, or experience the hateful or just plain moronic speech of other citizens of this country and on our college campus, we have to remember why the First Amendment was written into the constitution. With the restriction of speech comes the restriction of the rest of our most basic rights. Reflect back on the periods when the United States fought back the tide of oppression. Throughout time, when governments have seized control over the rights of the people they have used that authority to dominate and exploit their citizens.
We have to consider the things that bring us together rather than what separates us. First and foremost, we have to remember that we are all citizens of a country that gives a voice to the lowest members of society and while that might be a nuisance at times, it is nonetheless a beautiful thing.
I truly believe in this time of chaos, confusion, hurt and division, the way to help heal the wounds of this country is to bring about a mentality of tolerance and acceptance is to come together. At the end of the day, it hurts my heart when I see hateful comments or destructive words spoken in my town. However, while I don’t agree with people flying the confederate flag from the back of their cars, I would never take away that person’s right to fly one, because I would never want someone to take away my right to say that flying that flag is wrong.
As we live out our college days, are introduced to new thoughts and are confronted with opposing ideas, I ask the students of A&M seek to practice the higher ideal of tolerance and acceptance in all forms. Keep in mind that the person spewing hate online is a perfect example of why this country is one of the best to live in in this world. If we can remember the first words of the Constitution, “We the people,” and realize that “we,” is an all-inclusive term, we can begin to come together and begin to close the gap that has been dividing our country, living up to our name as a united people.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Battalion

Your donation will support the student journalists of Texas A&M University - College Station. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Battalion

Comments (0)

All The Battalion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *