Bring Back Our Free Speech
Bring Back Our Free Speech
Earlier in my senior year, my AP European History teacher decided to take a break from the fascinating world of Renaissance painters, and instead conduct a class project that would revolutionize my entire thinking on American government.
It was Constitution Day, the annual celebration of the ratification of the United States Constitution. In response, Mrs. Stiller posed an interesting scenario: if an alien were to take over the world, yet they allowed us to keep five rights of our choice, what would they be?
At first, my mind immediately flashed to the obvious. I didn’t know how dangerous these fictional aliens would be, so my mind sought for the right to bear arms, the right against cruel and unusual punishment, and the right of personal property. The rest of the class seemed to be in accordance with these seemingly evident necessities, and we were feeling pretty confident about our choices.
Yet, Mrs. Stiller shocked us yet again by expressing concern that we didn’t want the freedom of press. Sure, I was a journalist, but the right to have a press wasn’t something my mind immediately flashed to when in an alien attack. Yet, it was through her explanation that I began to unlock a powerful truth. She explained that a free press was key to protecting a democracy, as it was the way for the public to know about the interworking of the government, in order to prevent overexpansion of power.
As I left class that day, the little bit of information was stashed somewhere in-between remembering my locker combination and memorizing my lines for Hamlet. Yet, the recent headlines reminded me of the importance of speaking boldly without fear.
From Sony being hacked by an organization in North Korea, Taylor Swift’s Instagram being hacked, to the recent Paris attacks, our world is quickly forgetting the value of a free and uncompromising press. Our right to express ourselves isn’t just a governmental right; it’s a right vested in the framework of humanity. We don’t write to sell, we write to save.
Imagine a world where no free speech is permitted. The press is sponsored by the government, providing a tainted view of the actual realities of the state, leaving an untrusting public and a tyrannical government. While many of us are fortunate enough to have never experienced this, for millions of people living in highly-controlled areas, such as North Korea, this is a daily reality.
It’s time for us to defend the voice that our Framing Fathers put in the thought and effort to give us. Whether your message is delivered with a shaky and scared voice or with the confidence of trailblazers like Martin Luther King Jr, it’s our responsibility to protect the power of the press.
Julia Schemmer is a senior from Norco High School, where she participates in five AP classes, is the president of the Female Empowerment Club and Link Crew, and publicist of Chinese Culture Club, American Cancer Society, and the FIDM Fashion Club. Aside from managing the communications at Her Culture, she is the founder of She Speaks Media and The Face of Cancer, editor for The Prospect Magazine, editor in chief of Motivation Daily, and contributor for the Huffington Post. Her future endeavors consist of becoming an international human rights lawyer, foreign correspondent, diplomat, and finally seeing the day where Leonardo DiCaprio wins an Oscar.