Saving America from Itself


Washington Post

Protestors destroy police car in New York at a Black Lives Matter Riot in June of this past year.

Makaylee Hester, Staff Writer

Revolutionaries, slick with the blood of their enemies, founded America. In 1776 they signed the Declaration of Independence. 

By doing so, the framers of America knew that this was controversial. The beauty of this instigation of violence was that it was a fight for individuality and freedom. 

Until then, Britain had utter control, forcing conformity of religion and other ideas onto their people. 

Even today, freedom of expression is incredibly important in the United States as is civility. Without civility, free thinkers may be hindered by the fear of opposing parties retaliating. 

Americans have the right to freedom of the press, meaning that our government does nothing to silence or censor the mainstream media.

This, my friends, is wonderful. Especially when we take the time to look at places like North Korea where essentially everything is censored.

The press can be extremely influential: from popularizing movies to spreading information about presidential candidates to even propagating wars. 

That being said, civility is immensely important when paired with the press. Many times today, a news member will create his or her segment and bash a politician, celebrity, or country. This obscene declaration of disapproval can set the tone for how others feel and can create divides.

This division in the population only leads to more problems, such as civil unrest and general agitation. 

We see the importance of civility in the government’s attempts to protect it. Our lawmakers have placed policies against libel and intentional malice. However, these attacks are often difficult to prove. 

The media is notorious for overdramatizing events which often futhers a pre-existing issue. 

“Police guide that calls BLM a terrorist group draws outrage,” an article from ABC written on December 2nd of 2020, is a prime example of the divide that can be caused from the uncivil enactment of the freedom of association clause of the First Amendment. 

This is only one example of a distasteful riot that has gained infamy. 

In early January, Trump extremists stormed the Washing DC Capitol in an attempt to reverse Biden’s win as the newly elected president. While both groups acted out of passion, they only created a deeper divide and feverish animosity among American people. 

Both parties have diminished the validity of their cause by overshadowing their movements with destruction. By doing so, neither party can easily or successfully accomplish the change it wishes to occur. 

Had these groups kept a peaceful, nondestructive demeanor, both arguments would have been more carefully considered. 

The most effective form of communication is not through degradation but through respectful, considerate, and educated presentation of differing ideas. Discourse is the primary route to needed conversations. 

If freedom of expression could remain calm, tension could be released through hearing the needs of both parties and creating compromised solutions.

 If two opposing sides are always at war, neither can afford to let its guard down and truly listen to what the other has to say. If we as a collective group could worry not about what we want but the needs of others, expression could one day equal a solution.

 In one of his many sermons, Martin Luther King said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” 

It is often easier to yell and offer up destruction in an effort to squander a differing opinion; however, true freedom of expression can only be achieved by allowing people the opportunity to fully and freely express themselves. 

Only then can the compassionate consideration of difficult ideas lead to appropriate solutions. 

While our wonderful nation fought for freedoms and civil liberties, our predecessors never intended the fight to be among their own governed people. 

Freedom of expression will never be considered free until it is applicable to everyone.

We must challenge ourselves to leave the confinement of a destructive mindset and earnestly open ourselves to civil discourse and considerate compromise. 

Police spray unruly rioters at Washington DC capitol raid in an attempt to keep them out of the White House. Photo Credit BBC.