Freedom brings responsibility

ULM Hawkeye

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The first amendment of our American constitution protects freedom of speech. It’s one of the many reasons this country thrives. It’s also why Americans are so opinionated.

And why shouldn’t we be? We have freedom to think, speak and act. Many around the world don’t have the luxury we think is a right.

But even though we have liberty to speak, write, publish and broadcast our thoughts, a level of responsibility comes with it.

We may have the right to tell a kid Santa’s not real, or mouth off to our mom or yell at the top of our lungs when we stub a toe on the bed-frame.

But it doesn’t mean we should.

That kid’s heart will be broken, our mothers aren’t afraid of using soap and the bed doesn’t care about stubbed toes.

As children, dreams of freedom dance in our heads. But freedom comes with responsibility. (Often a hard reality learned.)

That’s how the first amendment works.

Americans are given essential rights but expected to handle their liberty with maturity and tact.

Strong opinions, differing opinions, are necessary. A platform for discussion, argument and heated debate is beneficial.

But trying to force feed a particular view down someone’s throat is not a commendable act.

Disrespect, scripted lines and frenzied potshots won’t open the door to meaningful conversation.

Verbal assaults to students and faculty while hiding under the protection of the first amendment is not an admirable feat.

Disagreements occur: among family and friends, among institutions and among the nation.

But this doesn’t excuse the need for mutual respect among the differences.

Just because you can say it doesn’t mean you should.