Are We Really Free to Speak and Express Ourselves

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ARE WE REALLY FREE TO SPEAK AND EXPRESS OURSELVES?

How many people believe we are really free to speak or express ourselves under the protection of our first amendment? And if we are really free to express ourselves, why is it that people have lost their jobs or have got into trouble by their mere words? Is it fair that we express ourselves with body art and clothing that are distasteful to others regardless of their age, race, religion, or creed? How about rap artists and song writers? Should they have the right to say whatever they want? In my essay, I will be discussing my view points on this matter and I will also be showing you what the government restrictions and limitations they have imposed against an amendment that was set forth to protect the people and limit government control in the first place. “Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws. Criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas that people may find distasteful or against public policy, such as racism, sexism, and other hate speech are almost always permitted. There are exceptions to these general protection’s, including the Miller test for obscenity, child pornography laws, speech that incites imminent lawless action, and regulation of commercial speech such as advertising. Within these limited areas, other limitations on free speech balance rights to free speech and other rights, such as rights for authors and inventors over their works and discoveries (copyright and patent), interests in “fair” political campaigns (Campaign finance laws), protection from imminent or potential violence against particular persons (restrictions on fighting words), or the use of untruths to harm others (slander). Distinctions are often made between speech and other acts which may have symbolic significance.” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_in_the_United_States)

The First Amendment states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceable assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” ( http://firstamendment.com/firstamendment.php). Flag desecration has continually, albeit controversially, been protected by the First Amendment, despite state laws to the contrary. A Constitutional Amendment has been introduced to contravene the First Amendment’s protection on flag burning, but it has failed to acquire the requisite enactment by all the states.

“Despite the exceptions, the legal protections of the First Amendment are some of the broadest of any industrialized nation, and remain a critical, and occasionally controversial, component of American jurisprudence.” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_in_the_United_States)

I do agree that there should be some limitations. Without limitations, people would abuse their First Amendment right and would be chaotic and unorganized. On a flip side, how can you take action on someone voicing their opinion? Our right to speak freely without lashing out is the right of the people given because it is our own opinions. Just ideas and viewpoints that may strike a nerve, but does not call for action, because of the effect it has on others.

Let’s take rap lyrics for instance. We know that some music is very provocative and offensive especially to the women of our society. These lyrics are opinions, viewpoints, and experiences that they have been through, witnessed or fantasized about and it is their right to say what they feel even if it’s offensive. If you don’t like that kind of music or it offends you, don’t listen to it . Here’s the funny part. When you go into a club or a social setting where these lyrics are being played, you will hear women singing right along with this ‘supposed to be...
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