This archived article was written by: Josie Sue Slade
The first amendment is the basis of the United States, the basis for our freedom and the cause of the lives we live today. The first amendment is the truly American part of the Constitution. If you do not stand up for your first amendment rights, then what is the point of calling yourself an American?
Young adults today are less willing to stand up for their constitutional rights than in past generations. With the constant backlash for not being “politically correct” and the need to tiptoe around everything, the first amendment has become something no longer “cool” for people to practice.
Recently when “The Interview” was set to come out, Sony hackers threatened Sony and the movie theaters if they released the film. When the film was pulled from theaters, Sony did a very un-American action that is starting to become more common. While there was protest from older generations, not once did I hear or see anything from the millennium and boomlet generations.
If my generation is not willing to stand up for something as simple as this, what is in store for America’s future?
Never should you passively watch your rights slip from you. By not standing up for the first amendment, you are becoming a silent enemy to the rights you practice every day. If you believe in the Constitution, stand up for it.
The problem with society is how sensitive everyone is. If someone disagrees with what you say, that doesn’t mean they hate you. Yet, people stifle others first amendment rights with a whisper of, “We don’t want you offending anybody.” By doing this you are offending someone, you are offending our forefathers and what they fought for, what they died for.
When members of the USU Eastern men’s basketball team wore t-shirts before a game that read, “I Can’t Breathe” (a commentary on the death of Eric Garner by NYPD), an outrage from community members who attended the game was sparked. These members contacted the chancellor to get the college to stop these students from wearing these t-shirts. By doing this, these people tried to violate the student’s rights to free speech.
It is criminal and unjust to do this, especially to the younger generations. In no circumstances should we try to stifle other people because we’re offended. What kind of example is this? It is occurrences like this that are slowly teaching younger generations that the first amendment is not important.
With the first amendment slowly going out of style, it’s time to stand up for this right, even in small incidents. In the immortal words of Benjamin Franklin, “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”