The Right to Speak

Alice Kogo, staff writer

In the United States, freedom of speech is outlined in the constitution, as a “human right to voice one’s opinion publicly without fear of censorship or punishment”. While some may agree with this statement, others may have a different view as to how our freedoms should be expressed, and whether or not the government has the right to control what we say.

When it comes to talking among friends in a public environment, most people enjoy having the right to freely voice their opinions in regards to what TV shows they watch, or what music they listen to, knowing that their views may be different than others. People know that although their opinions will be challenged, they can still defend them, and give reasons as to why they support it. But when it comes to personal matters, such as religion, most feel that the topic should be dropped completely, rather than expressing their rights to speak, and then explaining whether and why they disagree with the criticism of a race, religion, or offensive topic. We only claim to want the abandonment of free speech when it is in regards to our own cause that we believe in, but when speaking against others, we claim to want it back.

The ability to discuss the topic of free speech by itself explains why we should be able to maintain it. By acting as civilized human beings, we prove that we already have words to elaborate upon and support our ideas. As long as they are presented maturely, why not claim the right to use the words we have? Rather than resorting to trivial things, such brutal force and violence to prove our point, words are the better option. Fists can kill millions, while words can stop wars.

Free speech is a trademark statement that is in most cases has been claimed, but not applied. By setting a limit on what people can say, a basic human right is violated. Without the expression of free speech, knowledge is confined strictly to the mind, and a particular insight won’t have the ability to offer insight on a topic in a way that hasn’t been before.

A person should have the ability to choose whether they want to speak up from the get go, and not have to ask for permission first. We need the ability to say what we feel, knowing that we will be criticized, and saying it anyways. Why not make the idea of free speech a promise that can be carried out effectively, rather than a half-baked wish? This is the reason we need to be free.