Freedom of speech becomes restricted in today’s society


Freedom of speech entails civil discourse and respectability, not silencing and hatred.

Kayla Bailey, Opinion Writer

Freedom of speech is defined as “the right to express an opinion without any censorship in the process.”

In the United States, we are granted this right by the first amendment of the Constitution. So whether you are an American citizen or not, you are allowed to voice your opinion without anyone telling you otherwise.

Nonetheless, many people are attacked because they have the “wrong” opinion. This has become evident within our society as people become more conflicted with each other and opposing views. People having differing opinions is nothing new, but in recent years hostility and intolerance of such viewpoints has increased.

No matter what the case may be, someone will be offended and counter your opinion with their perspective. Not that this is wrong of course; they are also entitled to share their opinion. But, when someone blatantly says that you are wrong for having an opinion or trying to shush you, it is incredibly rude and disrespectful.

If people want to be respected when they are expressing their thoughts, why won’t they practice that when approaching others? Not only is this incredibly hypocritical, but it makes people not want to express anything with you.

Also, it’s one thing when it’s civil discourse and two sides are debating, and it’s another when one is silencing another. One must be aware that you don’t have to change the other person’s mind, but rather agree to disagree in the end if there is no consensus or majority vote involved.

The United States is a diverse country filled with people of different backgrounds, religions, perspectives, upbringing and cultures. Having a diverse population can definitely lead to many opposing viewpoints, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Listening to different ideas allows individuals to take other perspectives into account and become more educated. Exposing your mind to new ideas also brings people together and although there are disagreements, there is always the possibility of there being a silver lining or a surprising agreement.

However, in today’s society, someone having a different opinion is often taken as an attack or insult and leads to yelling or scolding. It is everyone’s negative and hateful reactions that create censorship and make people question what freedom speech really means in our country.

The fear of retaliation results in people remaining quiet and refrained. This unwarranted fear serves as a reminder that we must change our ways.

Change doesn’t happen in a linear fashion, there will always be ups and downs. As people persevere through disagreements and arguments, the end result can be beneficial.

When others do not remain silent, they may sacrifice their career, their reputation and/or their life to speak their mind. People shouldn’t have to sacrifice so much for something that is within their prerogative.

You do not have to agree with everyone, but you have to be accept that people have different views and that’s completely okay. Ideally, people should be more open to hearing other perspectives and arguments that could possibly broaden their own.

I believe that freedom of speech doesn’t only mean the right to express your perspective without fearing censorship, but it also involves the ability to listen and have other’s views to be acknowledged.

Freedom of speech encourages change and moving forward in our society. As a society, we shouldn’t attack those that voice their opinions, we should listen to what people have to say and respectfully agree or disagree.