As part of a homeschool civics class comprised of students in the 7th through 10th grade levels, students were asked to write opinion editorials on topics of their own choosing which reflect current themes in governance and policy-making. Over the course of the next few weeks the class will be tracking the views of and commentary on their op-eds with the goal of generating as much meaningful community engagement as possible. A prize will be awarded to the student who is most successful at generating meaningful community engagement with their op-ed. Thanks so much for partnering with us to create this experience for the children and teaching them to be actively involved in the governance of their community!
Defending our First Amendment Rights
“Without Freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty without Freedom of speech.”
– Benjamin Franklin
Freedom of speech is one of the most important rights in the First Amendment. It allows us to voice our opinions without the Government intervening. As American citizens we make a country with our voices. But more than ever our freedom of speech is under attack. The ability to speak up and speak out is, in theory, the cornerstone of American democracy. But that is slowly being diminished. People who are standing up for their opinions are having restrictions put on their individual right to speak up.
Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States said in the quote above, “and no such thing as public liberty without Freedom of speech.” Our public liberties are what we hold dear to us. Our religion, conscience, security, privacy, and assembly. But if our Freedom of speech is taken away there is no way we can protect our civil rights. That is why we need to put up a fight. We as American citizens need to be voicing our opinions more than ever.
For example. Parents all over the nation are protesting mask and vaccine mandates. They have written rights in the First Amendment to Freedom of religion and speech. Parents are concerned about the affects the vaccine might put on their children. Also, schools are pressing Critical Race Theory, and LGBTQ+ education to be taught to children all over America. Families have rights that protect their religion, and if the Government is going to insist on their children being taught the opposite of what they believe in, they should stand up for what they think is right. “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Our Founding Fathers wrote the Bill of Rights to maintain individual liberty. The Bill of Rights is a systematic document giving us what they thought was a top to bottom list of individual liberties. The First Amendment is the first because it is the most important. It states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The Framers made it clear that Congress SHALL not abridge the Freedom of speech. Without the First Amendment our nation would have no way to defend ourselves and our beliefs.
“Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins.” -Benjamin Franklin In our nation we have a history of fighting for freedom. The American Revolution, The Civil War, WWI, and WWII. In Benjamin Franklin’s quote he says, “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free Government.” America has fought hard for her freedom. Every successful nation has a firm basis on their government. If the United States’ firm basis, or foundation, is a free government, we need to preserve it and our rights. Freedom of speech guarantees that we can preserve our rights by standing up for them. The last thing we would want to see is our nation, that we and other American’s have fought for, deteriorate and dissolve into tyranny. Democracy almost always ends in tyranny.
So, I ask you to take a stand for our nation. Fight back. Put your voice among the millions of others and stand out. Use your written rights to make a difference. Challenge democracy and tyranny by fighting for what’s right. Use your Freedom of speech.
“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” -Benjamin Franklin
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