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Free speech means free opinion

FRI.| 5-5-23 | OPINION

     As a united country, America takes great pride in free speech. This is the idea that was established back in 1791, being the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Freedom of speech means that every American has the right to say whatever they want to say without prosecution or legal difficulties, with the exceptions of committing libel or defamation. However, this concept has become twisted in the minds of many citizens, where people begin to think that free speech means no judgment from others. This is not true. Yes, you have the right to say whatever you may like, but that does not mean that people won’t disagree with you. Freedom of speech also means freedom to give opinions about things that other people say.

     One place where people tend to believe that they will not receive any repercussions for what they say is on social media. On applications like Twitter, people say whatever they want and that’s completely fine, but you must stay 

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Graphic by Jordyn Godwin

aware of the fact that people might get angry or offended by what is posted. This can happen with anyone, no matter what you post. Celebrities have a lot of difficulty with judgment on the internet. Every post that a celebrity makes causes anger for at least one person or group of people, and those people are not afraid to fight and argue about it. While I do think that people often go too far with accusations and insults on the internet, there is nothing illegal about it and nothing that can be done to control it. That is the unfortunate truth. People need to think before they speak on the internet and take into account how it could offend people in different groups. You can’t post whatever you want and not be prepared for the repercussions.

     Freedom of speech as a concept tends to get twisted around by Americans. They think only about the fact that they have free speech and not about everyone else around them also having it. The whole point of free speech is that it is an equal right that all American citizens reserve, which must be remembered when you say something controversial on the internet or in real life. There is nothing wrong with expressing your opinions publicly, but you must be prepared for possible backfire. There is potential for issues with people getting mad about things others say or post with hate crimes and cyberbullying. I do not think anyone deserves to be bashed relentlessly just because of something they may have been misinformed about, but a correction or an argument is sometimes necessary for people to understand the problem. As long as people don’t take their anger too far, like when they send death threats and cyber bully people they don’t know, it is good for statements that are offensive to be corrected.

The right to freedom of speech has been around for centuries and has had both positive and negative effects on American citizens with the freedom to say what they want but also the consequences of what they say. It is a constant cycle that will continue to turn and people need to accept that.

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