Freedom of speech.
That’s a bold phrase.
We, the citizens of America have the right, the power, and the ability, to say whatever we want, whenever we want. It’s written in the bill of rights as amendment number 1.
Freedom of speech.
As great as that sounds, is it the best option? Fake news, racist comments and dark hatred spread the digital realms of the internet today, with nothing to fear, because it’s their right, right?
Violent protests, altered campaign results, and racist supremisists are all led by our right, freedom of speech, and it needs to stop.
“Words are more dangerous than swords and guns. They reach further and hurt deeper.”, a quote by Luis Marques, a famous author. Having the right to share your opinion is one thing, but enforcing hatred towards other races is another.
On August 12, 2017, a group of white nationalists organized a protest to remove Confederate statues from Charlottesville, named “Unite the right”. Although protests are legal, committing violence is not.
The nationalists were countered by opposing protesters, which led to violence. James Alex Field Jr., a 20-year-old man siding with the white nationalists, drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, causing one to lose her life. “This is not a First Amendment rally. They are literally coming to kill us.”, spoken by anti-nationalist protesters.
Protesters who were opposing the racist ideals from the nationalists, protesters who were protecting the equality sense of America, protesters who were humane, were violently attacked.
More recently, and exactly a year later, On August 12, the “Unite the right” protest was held again as a sequel, with the racist white nationalists protesting with their cause being, “White people are becoming a minority”, said by a protester supporting the nationalist group. Police engagement played a huge role in both occasions, where police officers had to stop fights and calm the situations down.
Violent. Racist. Inhumane. Freedom of speech.
In 2017, Donald J. Trump was elected as the President of United States. Elections are always a fight for the best. However, not when it is rigged by fake news, and protected by the first amendment.
Facebook and twitter are perfect places to examine political elections, the rising disputes between republicans and democrats. What people don’t realise is that most of the statements regarding hate towards Clinton, or positivity towards Trump, was fake.
The Special Council Investigation was an investigation which targeted Trump to analyze different sources from the media which deliberately hated on Clinton. A recent update found that Trump was not working with Russia at the time of his elections, but did confirm that the news was fake, which means that many assumptions and accusations about Clinton were false, which would have disrupted the elections.
Trump also has a record of nonsense that he has said to the people. According to a study at the Washington Post, Trump has made 9,014 falsehoods in the past 774 days. Bottom line is, don’t believe everything you hear or see.
Social media lacks the security it needs to protect its platform. They choose to not have restrictions that would prevent fake news from spreading to abuse campaigns, for as it “goes against the freedom to express themselves” said by Mark Zuckerberg. He did so to defend his facebook platform by using the bill of rights, which was written by our founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson, one of the biggest founding fathers of America once said, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.”, which translates to, honesty is the best policy. Thomas Jefferson would be disappointed in us.
If the freedom of speech means that we have the ability to wreak chaos, cause violence, spread rumours, fiddle with political campaigns, and directly lie, than it’s about time we do something about it.
- “A Quote by Luis Marques.” Goodreads, Goodreads, www.goodreads.com/quotes/943210-words-are-more-dangerous-than-swords-and-guns-they-reach.
- Jefferson, Thomas. “Monticello.” An Educated Citizenry Is a Vital Requisite for Our Survival as a Free People (Spurious Quotation), www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/educated-citizenry-vital-requisite-our-survival-free-people-spurious.
- Kang, Cecilia. “Free Speech Puts U.S. on ‘a Collision Course’ With Global Limits on Big Tech.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 21 Apr. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/04/21/technology/facebook-zuckerberg-harmful-speech.html.
- Kessler, Glenn, et al. “President Trump Has Made 9,014 False or Misleading Claims over 773 Days.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 4 Mar. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/03/04/president-trump-has-made-false-or-misleading-claims-over-days/?utm_term=.e2f68d36bc4e.
- “The Misuse and Abuse of Freedom of Speech.” Daily Times, 22 June 2018, dailytimes.com.pk/256597/the-misuse-and-abuse-of-freedom-of-speech/.
- Stanglin, Doug, and Gabe Cavallaro. “1 Dead, 19 Injured as Car Hits Crowd after a ‘Unite the Right’ Rally in Charlottesville; Driver in Custody.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 13 Aug. 2017, www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/08/12/charlottesville-va-braces-alt-right-rally-thousands-robert-e-lee-statue/561833001/.