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In the United States Constitution the First Amendment provides citizens with the right to free speech. This is a key factor in how America was brought up and for the people who live in the U.S today. It is an important right for them to have and be able to use. However, even though freedom of speech is a part of the constitution, today people still struggle with being able to utilize their right to free speech. There are obstacles that block them from acquiring their first amendment right and people who discriminate them against their rights.
Having freedom of speech is a necessary right for the people and government of the country to ensure stability, justice, and equality. However, today this right is not acquired by all. Freedom of speech is suppressed by the government or legal authorities on multiple occasions. In some cases, citizens’ expression of speech will result in a threat of jail time. However, freedom of speech is not only spoken words but also any expressive activity. It can only be limited in extreme situations and going against other liberties, such as protecting the community from harm or the use of untrue statements to harm someone.
The rights of the first amendment are being minimized by school officials suppressing freedom of faith of their students and the government and police not allowing citizens to share views to the press that are not accepted by most. Even though citizens have the right to speak freely, they are being threatened with jail time for sharing information about government programs.
An example of suppressed freedom of speech occurred at a University of Florida Forum for Senator John Kerr in September 2007. A student named Andrew Meyer refused to leave the microphone and stop expressing his questions when he was asked and this resulted in him being arrested and tasered. This incident emphasizes that even a small act of free speech can result in drastic measures from the authorities.
Another infraction on the First Amendment’s freedom of speech occurred on July 4, 2004 at a West Virginia state capitol President Bush speech rally. However, this case was not a freedom of verbal speech, but instead the freedom to express one’s opinion through clothing. Nicole and Jeffery Rank had worn anti-Bush slogan t-shirts to the rally and refused to cover them up when told so by the officials. The result of this was them being handcuffed and taken out of the rally. The incident spiked a lawsuit that the government settled, but through it was revealed that during such events the government has the right to take such measures. This meant that in the case of the Ranks the government has the right to remove people for expressing their freedom of speech from government events. In some states the government is even going as far as regulating what citizens can wear.
The style of baggy pants, pants below the underwear line, that originated in prisons is forbidden in some cities and violators of this face fines or even jail time. In Delcambre Louisiana citizens who participating in this style will receive a $500 fine or 6 months in jail. Schools in Arkansas and Florida have also enforced dress codes that forbid students from wearing baggy pants to school campuses. Multiple cases throughout the U.S have infringed upon the first amendment rights of citizens even though it was established as part of the U.S constitution.
The continuation of freedom of speech suppression could potentially result in setting the country back a step. The U.S has run with this Amendment in place for years and it is one of the reasons why it works the way it does with the citizens. Freedom of speech suppression can result in citizens not accepting the unjust situation.
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