Fresh Takes — 01 September 2017

Brave men and women throughout history have fought tirelessly for their right to speak their minds. However, any person living in this volatile day and age would agree that there needs to be a boundary placed between freedom of speech and violence.

This boundary has rapidly become close to imminent in today’s society, thanks to the creation of “hate speech.” To understand hate speech, one must first understand the meaning of free speech itself.

Speech of any kind entails defining your thoughts and opinions via word of mouth. To reach so far as to say that free speech means using your fists and other inanimate objects to get your point across, is extreme.

Violence is not a form of free speech, it is a form of free action. Which, as we all know, would be deemed punishable by law already. So when did the definitions of speech and violence become so very blurred?

There has to be a line drawn, without truly emancipating the right to express the ideas of those who so deserve to share them. There very well should be law(s) prohibiting those expressing free speech, from crossing the border into a territory of violence.

However, it is unconstitutional to revoke the right altogether. What many have trouble coming to terms with, is the idea that hate speech is actually considered free speech. Hate speech is our right as Americans, however it should never include or condone violence.

Certainly, abuse of given power will remain ever present in any and almost all aspects of our nation’s freedoms, this one in particular. This does not mean we should revoke these rights because some choose to obey and others do not.

It’s a flawed system we live under. What can we do? Shall we accept the forced censorship, driven by the fear of those who abuse their right as man?

Free speech is responsible for the foundation of our country. How and more importantly, why, is it acceptable for one sole power to deem every person in the country unworthy of voicing their opinions, thoughts and ideas?

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Rachel Hanna

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