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Free Speech Fight Ramping Up

Free Speech Fight Ramping Up
February 14
10:23 2017

(IJR) – The founders of our great nation enshrined the right to free speech to protect the dissenting minority, a right many of us today have taken for granted. The First Amendment gives individuals within the minority the ability to make their collective voices louder and is at the core of what makes America great. Enshrining the right to free speech was visionary because surely the founders never could have known the ideological vitriol we now face in the public sphere.

Today, we see an effort to silence free speech instead of an emphasis on creating an open dialogue allowing for an exchange of ideas and diversity of opinion. This silencing creates divisions among Americans and diminishes our nation’s reputation as a marketplace of ideas.

We have found ourselves in the age of political correctness which has led to the rise of safe spaces, censorship, free speech zones and trigger warnings across the country. Now it is time to put aside our political differences and realize these differences are what make America great.

Yes, people will say controversial things. But it is those very things the first amendment was designed to protect. Discussion and debate should be encouraged rather than discouraged.

Benjamin Franklin stated it best when he said, “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.”

What’s more, freedom of speech and expression is essential to a free government and the founders realized that even in the early days of our nation and democracy.

In the wake of this historic election, liberals are the ones in the ideological minority and now realize why conservatives have always been ardent defenders of the right to free speech and protection of the first amendment. Whichever political party is in the minority is the one to carry the mantle of free speech – for years it had been conservatives but now there has been change in tides. Let it be known conservatives are the ones who have fought and continue to fight to protect this essential right – even for their adversaries.

Our current president, known for his sometimes controversial and fiery rhetoric, is a defender of the right to free speech.

In the wake of the Women’s March in Washington, a large protest orchestrated to decry his presidency, Trump tweeted, “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.” The more discourse about the things we disagree on, the more engaged we become. The answer is always more free speech, even when it’s uncomfortable.

This is an issue where people with ideological differences and dissenting ideas can come together; recognizing the importance of the First Amendment and at one point or another someone will always be in the minority. Conservatives should work diligently with liberals on this issue to ensure the right to free speech is protected and preserved for years to come.

At the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), we work tirelessly to protect the right to free speech for everyone, including everyone’s right to protest. Free speech, diversity of ideas, tolerance on college campuses, free association, the rights of businesses to engage in the free exchange of truthful information, and donor privacy for nonprofits and charities must be respected and exercised without fear of retaliation. Now more than ever, we must make the protection of free speech a priority, or it may become a distant memory.

http://ijr.com/opinion/2017/02/263836-fight-protect-free-speech-ramping-up-fight-censorship-political-differences/

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