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The United States of America is known for the freedom it offers its citizens, however, these freedoms are becoming majorly restricted. Among these freedoms is the freedom to express yourself, either through speech or press. The Bill of Rights is the document that gives the United States of America the freedom of speech and the freedom of press, therefore this is a right Americans should have indefinitely. People are on the run for things they have said. They have to hide from the government, who are supposed to protect them, because they revealed information which weighed down their minds. People who are simply expressing their thoughts and opinions can get into serious trouble. This is not right. The Bill of Rights does not specifically say what is covered or not covered. Therefore, since the United States of America is known specifically for these freedom as well as so many more, the freedoms should be protected.
In 1492, Christopher Columbus set off to India, however, instead of reaching India, he discovered a new land, which the world now knows as the Americas. For a little over two centuries, immigrants from all over the eastern world poured into this new area. The American colonies, which later turned into the United States, were established by British immigrants. The colonies were under the Great Britian’s rule and remained there until 1775, when the American colonists decided enough was enough and rebelled. The rebellion turned out into a full revolutionary war, where America fought to declare its independence. The rebellion was caused by tension with Great Britian. Essentially, Great Britian gained too much power. The colonists resented the fact they were treated differently than the other British citizens who were located in Great Britian and the fact that they received no representation in Parliament
When it came time for the American colonist to write out their new laws, the Founding Fathers did all they could to ensure that the government would not have too much power. They tried to avoid having another King George III. Instead, they wanted the American people to have freedom and the power to have a say in their government. The Bill of Rights, which are the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, is the document that laid out these freedoms. This was written as a safeguard. It was aimed to protect these freedoms. Yet in modern day, these freedoms are becoming more and more restrictive. The Supreme Court was provided and entrusted the power to determine whether or not something is constitution. More and more, the Supreme Court’s decision are leaving the American citizens with less freedoms. Every freedom is becoming more restrictive.
The first amendment of the constitution states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The writers of the Bill of Rights made the amendment clear. Without question, the Bill of Rights states that Congress is not allowed to make laws that restrict these freedoms. They are not allowed to abridge, or shorten, the freedom of speech or press. The members of the Supreme Court are allowing laws to be passed, claiming the laws are in fact constitional. However, these laws that are being laid out are restrictions to these freedoms, which allows the government to abridge our freedome of speech and press. This is unconstitituional. The members of the Supreme Court are doing an inadequate job of fulfilling the assignment entrusted to them. They personally are allowing the freedoms of the American citizens to be ripped away.
There are many examples of restrictions to freedom of speech and freedom of press. Among these are people like Edward Snowden, who are now in hiding. Edward Snowden is an American hacker who leaked classified information about the National Security Agency, also known as the NSA, to mainstream media. It is unsure how many files Snowden was able to download, but it is believed to be up to and possibly over 100,000. He released information which the government had been hiding from the American people. Because of his actions, he is on the run. He is currently hiding out in Russia, simply because he released information that he found important.
Americans, as well as the rest of the world, were outraged when a group of French journalists were murdered in early January 2015. They were upset that people in another country were restricted freedoms, were murdered for publishing what they felt was important. Yet these same Americans are allowing American freedoms to slowly be torn and ripped away. They seem to be focused on complaining about other countries, rather than on the fact at hand, their own country. Instead of looking across the ocean to the other side of the world, people should pay attention to the problem that is standing right in front of them. They do not notice their own freedoms to being torn away. They do not realize that people like Edward Snowden who did something similar to the journalists did. While Snowden might not be put to death for his actions like the journalists, he would most likely spend the rest of his life in jail, which is almost like death in a sense. He would not physically die, but he really would not be alive either since he would be trapped behind bars.
Another example of a person who had their freedom of speech revoked was a man named Anthony Elonis. He posted a violent rap about killing his wife on Facebook. He was arrested and sentenced to four years in jail. This is in direct violation to the first amendment. His actions were no different from songs that other people have released, such as rap artist Emimen, whose real is Marshall Bruce Mathers III. Rap artist Eminem released a whole song about killing his wife, along with her new husband and his son. One of the lyrics states, “We’ll be right back. Well, I will, you’ll be in the trunk.” He swears at her many times throughout the song and screams at her telling her to bleed, while in the background, there is sound that sounds like her choking as though he really did try to kill her.
There are plenty of other examples of songs whose lyrics are about killing someone. It is a common theme in music, regardless of genre or even time period. In 1973, Bob Marley released a song called I Shot The Sheriff. The song is told through the point of view of the narrator who admits to shooting the sheriff, but denies shooting the deputy sheriff. Another song about murder is a country song released in the early 1990s called The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia by Reba McEntire, a well known artist. The song is about a man who got received the death penalty for a crime he did not commint. The crime was actually commited by his younger sister, who is the story teller of the song. There are even iconic songs that everybody knows that are about murder, like Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. It is a song that if played, there is highly possible that everyone will know it. One the lyrics clearly state, “Mama, just killed a man, put a gun against his head, pulled my trigger, now he’s dead. Mama, life had just begun, but now I’ve gone and thrown it all away.” The song is literally about a man who shot a man at point blank and killed him.
The artists of these violent songs do not get in trouble; however, this ordinary man does. It is unfair. A person might use the argument that these artists do not get in trouble due to the fact that the lyrics are not violent. This is crazy. Kim by Eminem, which was the first song referenced, is violent. The song even has a sequel called ’97 Bonnie & Clyde where Eminem goes to the beach with his young daughter with corpses in his trunk. He states to have his wife’s, then implied to have her new husband’s and step-son’s as well. Eminem then has his daughter help throw his wife’s corpse off the pier. That is not only violent, but disturbing. If Eminem, also known as Marshall Bruce Mathers III or Slim Shady, can get away with writing and performing these lyrics, Anthony Elonis should be able to as well. He deserves the same rights as everybody else.
Furthermore, freedom of speech and freedom are press are required to express creativity. Creativity is crucial for everybody. Creativity is expressed either through speech or press. It is a natural and inalienable right that should not be restricted laws. People express themselves either in the form of speeches or song, as well as writing it down either as editorials in newspaper or stories. These stories can be published in a number of ways; fiction or nonfiction; novels or short stories. Regardless of how the word got out, the author or speaker exercised their freedoms promised to them by Founding Fathers and the United States of America’s government.
Examples of people who expressed themselves through the freedom of speech are civil rights activists. People like Martin Luther King Junior exercised their freedom of speech and were punished for it. however they still became iconic. Authors make a living off the fact they can write what they want. If the government continues on, authors and activists are going to fall out. They will be punished for the things they feel the need to say, much like Snowden. The United States of America will lose the sense of justice that it thrives on. Little by little, the United States is losing its identity. The Supreme Court is allowing more and more to become restricted, allowing more and more laws to take away our freedoms.
In conclusion, freedom of speech and freedom of press are crucial freedoms that need be protected. These freedoms were given to us by the Founding Fathers through the Bill Of Rights in the Constitution. Each passed law is ruining the Founding Father’s visions. Each law is tearing away America’s freedoms. The United States of America needs to recognize this fact and resolve the issue. With the way things are going, the citizens of the United States of America are going to take the same action the colonists did and rebel. All it will take is one wrong law that sends the American people over the edge. Instead of pushing the boundaries, the Supreme Court and the United State’s government need to realize their mistakes and give the American people back their rights.
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