Dear Future President of the United States of America,
It's time to talk about freedom of speech, not just on how we use it, but with countries that can’t, and how we treat freedom of speech today. First, let’s define freedom of speech, from Dictonary.com it’s decribed as “the right of people to express their opinions publicly without governmental interference, subject to the laws against libel, incitementto violence or rebellion, etc.”. I believe one thing people take for granted in America is their freedom of speech, but some countries don’t have the luxury of taking something like that for granted. Countries like North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Vietnam don’t share this luxury of freedom of speech. In the United States, t isn’t hard to find evidence of freedom of speech: go online, turn on a tv or pick up a newspaper, or book, and there you go- there’s freedom of speech. But how do we use these, and how do we view others freedom of speech? I believe that freedom of speech is not only an important issue across the world, but to the history of America and what it stands for, it’s a core aspect of our individuality .
All over the world countries have taken away people's right to free speech. According to Freedoms House’s rating of countries on how much freedom they have, it says in its 2015 report that 40% of countries have freedom, and 30% are partly free and this number has been decreasing since 2005. “The world was battered in 2015 by overlapping crises that fueled xenophobic sentiment in democratic countries, undermined the economies of states dependent on the sale of natural resources, and led authoritarian regimes to crack down harder on dissent. These unsettling developments contributed to the 10th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.”(Puddington & Roylance,1). But, why does this matter? As our world advances we need to understand the freedoms other countries have and to recognize, and help to prevent those fundamental freedom, (like freedom of speech,) from declining anymore then they are now.
In addition to the freedoms of the world, we should now focus on how we, (as Americans) use and view freedom of speech. When the internet started to develop it give a voice to everyone to express there opinion, but that doesn’t mean they’re able to speak their full voice. Take for example on twitter, recently they have been banning several accounts because of their political beliefs. “Members of the alt-right movement differ on many points, but are generally outspoken in their attacks on multiculturalism, globalization and immigration.” (BBC News,1) “Several alt-right figures have been suspended from Twitter, but the social network is not saying why.” (BBC News,1). Now, I don’t agree with what these people say, but I do think they need a platform to discuss and talk about their beliefs. Another thing that has been very prominent in the news lately is protesting because of the president-elect. “and by the next morning, hundreds of students were walking out of class to collectively voice their concerns about what a Donald Trump presidency is going to mean for them.”(Steinmetz, 1). This matter because the way we view speech on different platforms is very unequal, and we need to give a voice to the people who are too scared or too shy to voicing their opinion in regular everyday life. That’s probably why you see more than one person protesting. At the end of the day we need to protect and value our freedom of speech, and right to protest.
. Hate speech is still protected by freedom of speech, but should we censor hate speech? No. “To be sure, there are some kinds of speech that are unprotected by the First Amendment. But those narrow exceptions have nothing to do with “hate speech” in any conventionally used sense of the term.” (Volokh, 1). When it comes to hate speech we can’t and shouldn’t censor it. What we need to do is use our own freedom of speech to combat this, we need to discuss, debate, and have a conversation. We can’t yell and scream and use buzzwords like racist, sexist, and homophobic to drive our opinions home, without backing that up with further evidence and reason. To get rid of hatred we need to discuss, we need to understand the other viewpoint, then talk and come to an agreement. We need to find a better way of communicating, and we should try our best to understand each other's viewpoints.
So what should the president do to help? I believe that they should do all they can to stop or minimize the amount of censorship laws that exist, and to give a safe platform for freedom of speech, and to promote people to use their freedom of speech as much as they can, and also to promote a better way of talking and discussing with one another. I mentioned before how there are several of countries who don’t have freedom of speech. With the United Nation recently creating the Global Goals, I would like to take a second on how one in particular connects to freedom of speech. That goal is Global Goal 10. It connects the best to freedom of speech because to reduce a lot of inequality we need to be able to speak out, discuss, and talk about it. We can not do this if we all don’t have freedom of speech. The people in the United States already have the right of free speech, we can use this ability to talk about other countries and try to give them this essential right. This is an important issue we should talk about because we can not just sit idly by and watch people not be able to express themselves. But why should the president care, well it's not only an prime aspect of American history, it's an important aspect of our culture and to infringe upon that would be ludicrous. It’ not just taking away someone's voice, it's taking away their way of expressing themselves, and their ideas. And that’s why this needs to top priority.
Graph from freedom house, showing the decrease in freedom
News, BBC. "Twitter Suspends Alt-right Figureheads." BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
@FreedomHouseDC. "Freedom in the World 2016." Freedom House. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
@FreedomHouseDC. "Overview Essay: Anxious Dictators, Wavering Democracies." Freedom House. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
"No, There's No." Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
@pressfreedom. "10 Most Censored Countries." Committee to Protect Journalists. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
"Teens Who Couldn't Vote Struggle to Accept President Trump." Time. Time, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016