Hate speech reaches highest levels of government

Why hate speech is not real and violates the First Amendment


Conservative based media company, PragerU, files a lawsuit against Google and YouTube for restricting their videos and content.

Jackson Bracknell, Editor-in-Chief

Personal freedoms were a priority to the Founding Fathers. It is the first amendment to the Constitution and corresponds to rights that every citizen within U.S. borders automatically receives. Today, personal freedoms, particularly freedom of speech, are threatened and argued, primarily because of the gray area known as “hate speech.”

In a day and age where nearly any American’s opinion can be voiced to millions of people with the touch of a screen, the legality and morality of free speech turning to hate speech drives wedges between communities, from college campuses to the Capitol.

The government even extends the freedom of expression to groups who have exhibited hate and bigotry in the past, such as the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, and any other group with a cause.

“Hate speech to one person is common language to another,” said English teacher John Kelly. “Not being politically correct is different than hate speech.”

On the contrary, forms of speech exist that are illegal: physical threats, defamation/libel cases, and conspiracy.

However, forms of speech that leave one feeling emotional or psychologically damaged, or offended are legal, for it is purely subjective.

“We have gotten to a point where political correctness is putting free speech in danger,” said Kelly. “We should, however, learn to be more measured [with our words].”

Throughout the course of history, governments have attempted to censor speech, whether it was the U.S. during the civil rights movements and the Red Scare, or the USSR during Lenin’s tyrannical rule.

Censorship existed in recent administrations, including Trump’s threats to revoke NBC and other biased news sites’ licenses; George W. Bush’s administration exhibited similar behavior with climate change cover-ups and suppression of the EPA and other environmental institutions.

However, Trump’s administration tried to protect the First Amendment by signing an executive order recently, which forces colleges to protect the freedom of speech on campus, or federal funding will be eliminated. According to the Washington Times, self-identified liberal professors outnumber conservative professors 12:1.

“If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they’ve got to allow people like Hayden and many other great young people and old people to speak,” said President Trump. “Free speech. If they don’t, it will be costly. That will be signed soon.”

Kelly even remembers an instance when his primarily liberal alma mater, Rutgers University, would not allow George Bush’s Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, speak a commencement address in 2014 because of an uproar from liberal students, blaming her for the entire war in Iraq.

With America being the moral light of the world, the leaders and everyday Americans should combat hate speech that is truly hateful, not because offense is taken.

For example, the House of Representatives recently passed a measure that condemns “anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and other forms of bigotry,” following what most saw as anti-semitic remarks by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

No answer seems correct to end the seemingly endless cycle of mudslinging, sensitivity, hate speech, and the inability to take jokes and criticism, besides a grassroots movement aimed at reinforcing America’s historical perseverance and hard-hearted nature.

Since hate speech can be entirely subjective and includes racial, religious, and gender bias, there is no way to monitor, censor, or combat hate speech beside a massive retaliation with more free speech. Hate speech can be condemned and judged by all, but punishment and reparations in school, communities, internet, and the government only create more hate and conflict.

“If we want to have a government run by the people, we need to have our voices heard,” said AP Government teacher Darcy Pohl.