To be free is saying what you want. To be free is doing what you want. To be free is having a say in something even if it is not necessarily what you believe in…at all.
Because, how is there a line drawn to something that’s sole purpose is to act on without any limitations. The very basis of democracy is giving citizens the right to state their free mind – be it ‘right’ or ‘wrong’.
The First Amendment to the Constitution, freedom of speech, grants Americans the liberty to criticize their government – to speak their minds without fear of being censored or persecuted. Humans use words to defend themselves. If you or someone was in a situation that caused you to defend yourself, with harsh words that were said in the heat of the moment – that could also be considered as abusing free speech. Free speech should be limited when it starts to concern the lives of those whether it be human or animal. Regardless of sexual orientation, skin color, or race.
So when something controversial is said the majority seem to always win. Our world becomes automatically set into this democracy where thoughts and opinions become right because you have more people supporting you. We define right and wrong – even if it means having a million different shades in between.
There are times we blurt something inappropriate to our parents, something done that isn’t suited for a situation, they’ll tell you how wrong you are for saying that but that didn’t stop the fact that you said it. Whether you meant it or not, you had that freedom of saying whatever you want. Circumstantial to social media, where you’re behind a screen, everyone is given a more prominent chance to think before you say – think before you send. It is understandable that the internet is a more public platform compared to any physical audience. There are influencers that could be role models of young minds that could be easily brainwashed to a shunned upon belief.
Hate speech is an entirely different category from just “saying however you feel.” Sure, not everyone is going to agree on every single topic but when your view disagrees with an entire race, then that isn’t okay and that deserves to be censored. Freedom of speech can and should be limited in certain cases because hate speech can be harmful to a person’s existence and that shouldn’t be allowed to happen. If we coexist continuing to tear people down or let people be torn down, then we will never exist freely.
Now to be clear of what harm is defined in this context. It is to not restrict that other person or society from living their life free on their own. So without the subject of threats – words do hurt and maybe the action of malicious intent hurts more, but the right to this vague, boundless freedom gives that power to do so.
People should always have the right to share their opinions no matter how many others disagree. For example, those who are pro-life deserve to have their belief in that subject no matter how much it might offend others. Everyone should be allowed to express their opinions and if one does not agree then they are not forced to listen. Speech should be protected so that people can share their opinions and views. Getting exposed to new ideas makes individuals stronger. People become more confident and able to voice their opinion for what they believe in. In today’s society, stating your opinion for what you believe in could be a positive in a way that could change something for the better if everyone stands up and speak out.
So if it is truly believed that everyone has freedom of speech, everyone has a platform to be controversial.