The value of free speech


Oakland Post’s Web Editor is an advocate for freedom, speech rights and all things American.

In times like this, it is important to reflect on the world and think about the things which makes us special.

Freedom of speech is one of these things, something many may take for granted.

With events such as the Paris terrorist attack, it is important to recognize how important having the first amendment is.

The first amendment says, “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.”

It is this amendment that separates us from many nations. Because of the first amendment, we can speak freely, believe in what we want—all without the fear of punishment.

Imagine a world where you could face punishment for expressing yourself.

A dull world, where everyone thinks the same and looks the same.

 A world where the American dream can’t be attained.

It is what helped start America, released the pentagon papers, solved Watergate and continues to allow the press to inform people across the globe.

Freedom of speech is just as important for those not part the media.

 It gives people the power, the power to question their leaders and then peacefully protest against them.

It solves problems and makes us unique, but we must be careful. There is a certain responsibility when exercising your freedom and this responsibility can lead to threats and even death.

However, these consequences make freedom of speech even more important and our greatest asset.

“If a large enough group of someone is willing to kill you for saying something, then it’s something that almost certainly needs to be said,” said Ross Douthat, New York Times columnist.

“A universal belief in freedom of expression, is something that can’t be silenced because of the senseless violence of a few,” said President Barack Obama.

Freedom of speech is a right that every free thinking man, woman and child should grasp and abuse.

In times where it may seem disastrous and even deadly to express yourself, let your voice be heard.

In the end, the only thing we truly own is our words.