Would the Founding Fathers approve of the current state of speech in America?
Growing up in rural Arkansas I was not exposed to many differing viewpoints or ways of life other than what I knew the first eighteen years of my life. Those values were conservative, patriotic, hardworking, and Christian. Upon entering the University of Arkansas in 1991, I was immediately exposed to a plethora of differing viewpoints, religions, and ways of life. Liberal viewpoints were plentiful and easy to be heard. Eighteen years of close mindedness did not prepare me well for accepting viewpoints other than my own. However, as I began to meet people and make friends, this began to change. Some of the friends I made in my first year or two of college had life perspectives very different than my own. Was I supposed to end a great friendship because we went to different churches or worshiped different gods? I decided to accept my new friends and try to understand their viewpoints. Because I made that choice I made and kept friends for live.
Our view points are still different, but there is mutual respect between us. I do not judge them because we don’t agree, nor do the do that to me. Today, it seems like differing viewpoints scream at the public trying to get attention or “likes” on social media. So much respect is lost. In a famous case that went before the United States Supreme Court (National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie ), a neo-Nazi organization was allowed to proceed with a parade and demonstration in a predominately Jewish community. Neo-Nazis are know for their hate-speech, nevertheless, the Constitution protects all speech.
The United States is supposed to have free speech, to promote a healthy discourse of ideas and beliefs. As the old cliche states, our founders are probably rolling in their graves. The current state of free speech in the United States can’t be what our brilliant founders meant for us. It’s like being adult children disappointing our parents with juvenile behavior.
I’m forty-four years old now, and my values have not changed, but I’m no longer close-minded to people who have different viewpoints. I respect and appreciate others with a different life perspective. I wish we all did. God Bless America!
Written by Jeremy Banister