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America, Silenced

Reagan Dorr

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In 1791, the first amendment was added to the constitution declaring that we had the freedom of speech as long as it didn’t cause mass panic or violate someone’s safety. In the recent months, even more with the stress of the election, it seems our right to speak our mind freely is slowly being taken away from us- violating a right granted to us as American citizens.

With every election season, the country becomes divided as they bicker with each other in the comments of a Facebook post or even face to face as they attempt to come out on top with their opinion. It doesn’t take a detective to find where these arguments break out- just look up something relating to the two candidates who ran for president and you’re bound to find a president-elect supporter bashing those who still support or “can’t get over” their candidate losing or vice versa.  Our freedom of speech is being threatened by those who shame, bash, and/or can’t accept the fact that someone has a different opinion from them.

On November 19th, 2016, the cast of Hamilton made an open speech to audience member Mike Pence. The speech included the following,  “…We, sir, we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir…”  A few hours after the situation, President-elect Trump took to his twitter to express his distaste to the cast. “The theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!” This wasn’t the only thing Trump had to say as a few minutes later he called their behavior “rude” and that they should apologize “immediately”. These statements made by the President-elect imply that they should not have openly addressed Pence, which did not violate the first amendment as their speech did not cause mass panic or violate anyone’s safety. The idea that Trump mentions they need to apologize for their words almost shames them for expressing their uncertainty of what the future may bring over the course of a few years. Bashing others for using their voices is ultimately an attempt to silence them.

A few weeks later, Green Day took to the American Music Awards stage to voice their opinion using the live TV show as a way to make sure their message was heard loud and clear. “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” Billie Joe Armstrong chanted to the star-studded crowd before swiftly returning to the next verse of the song. Their sudden chant didn’t sit well with others, as expected. Although President-elect Trump never once acknowledge them on his Twitter or in any interview, his supporters had plenty to say, bashing the band for taking advantage of their situation, one person even saying that it was just their way of “staying relevant.” The next day, ABC demanded that Green Day apologize for their actions. Although the band refused to do so, the act of wanting an apology – much like with the situation regarding the cast of Hamilton– is sending a message that shames them for using their voices, limiting their freedom of speech.

Even though it may gather some negative attention from others, the ability to have the  freedom of speech was something that was fought hard for. We have the right to voice our opinion whether or not the majority believe in it and should someone attempt to belittle us for it, it’s just an excuse for us to shout louder for more people to hear.

 

 

 

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America, Silenced