The Denial of the First Amendment in the United States
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (U.S. Const. amend. I)
The first amendment is full of so-called “protections” that the government gives to the American people. This amendment, written in 1791 is not only way overdue for an update, but is actively working for the divide of the American population and deterioration of the nation as a whole. Freedom of religion causes a clear dissent in citizens, freedom of speech is used for hate, freedom of press is implemented immorally for our own fascination, freedom of assembly allows for people to come together to perpetuate hate and their minority opinion, freedom of redress gets citizens nowhere in terms of changing policy. All of these protections and freedoms are not only extremely outdated, but some are actually perpetuating hate and harmful behavior in the United States today.
Freedom of religion, originally established to act as a respite from the religious persecution going on in England, is damaging American population in the modern world. Religion, or lack thereof, should not be advertised in present-day society. Religion is more of an ideological circumstance, rather than one that should be announced outwardly. Everyone, in their own minds, may practice religion or the lack thereof, but broadcasting that belief is harmful.
People in the United States are getting angry at stances on religion other than their own, creating a divide in American culture that may lead to another civil war. Freedom of religion is dangerous because anyone can publicize their religious stance, perhaps sparking controversy and violence, those who practice openly certain religions are a candidate for persecution, and some religious practices and members are violent and are free to do what they want under the name of religious freedom.
In the United States today, there is a huge controversy around many religions — Islam, Satanism, Christianity, Paganism, etc. This is creating a great divide between the American people that may be irreconcilable. After 9/11, many Americans turned on those who practiced the Islam faith outwardly: wearing burqas, turbans, studying the quran. Many people who identify as Christian did not want those who identify as Islamic to be around them or in “their” country. Many people believe that religions like Satanism and Paganism are violent, evil, and are here to corrupt the youth’s thoughts. KKK members, under the guise of Christianity, are harmful to communities and to the safety of American citizens whose only offense was being born a different race.
Religion, practiced in the open, is not necessary; as an ideological condition, it can still be engaged in through ways not expressed in the open. By granting citizens freedom of religion, the United States is creating a breakdown in unity. If one can tell what another person’s religion is by simply looking at them, they can automatically produce a bias that would not otherwise be present. This can cause a problem with those who are less tolerant of other’s religions. Eradicating freedom of religion and making it illegal to publicly display one’s personal ideals,makes a more unified nation, disallowing bias to occur simply through one’s look. By allowing people to practice their religions in a manner that is public, the United States is not only perpetuating this hate and overall bigotry, but actively endorsing it.
Freedom of speech causes many problems in the United States today. People all around the country are allowed to talk about what they want, no matter the content, and label it under their innate protections in the constitution. Anyone, anywhere, can say anything they desire in the United States no matter of bigotry, racism, sexism, xenophobia, or any other moral qualifier.
Some say that freedom of speech is what makes the United States the greatest country in the world, but the adoption of the complete removal of this part of the constitution could possibly be the greatest thing to happen to the United States since our victory in the American Revolution. The amendment is outdated, used for the wrong purposes, perpetuates hate speech, and is all around contributing to the degradation of the United States.
Written in the late 1700s, this amendment is outdated and simply no longer applies to our world today. Freedom of speech was a constant struggle back when the United States was first “founded,” with British soldiers patrolling and limiting what others could say. However, today this is not the case; British soldiers are not around every corner in modern day America. Freedom of speech as once used for speaking out against oppressors, but now is only used to state unpopular, usually hate-filled opinions. Today, no one is walking around looking for people who say the wrong things to persecute. Instead, people use the cover of “freedom of speech” to say and do what they want, even if their words are ignorant, wrong, and completely illogical.
Freedom of the press was originally used so that American citizens could receive impertinent news about what was going on in their world. Today, however, this is used to stalk celebrities and bring the American public inane news about who is divorcing who and how so- and-so lost fifty pounds. Freedom of press has been reduced to a joke at this point.
Anyone with a camera can climb a tree and take intimate pictures of newsworthy people under the pretense of freedom of press. This is not only an invasion of privacy, but causes an almost cult-like obsession with people that have their days broadcasted 24/7. We currently live in a society where this behavior is normalized, however, it is arguably still immoral and contributing to an unequal balance of underserved wealth. Some people in the United States today have only gained economic status from being photographed constantly by the press. Remove this incentive and
make press illegal, wealth distribution in the United States would even out, by not granting those who make profit from such exposure permission to do so. By removing freedom of press, these issues would be eradicated: not allowing any kind of paparazzi-type hecklers to broadcast “news,” removing those who do not belong in the tabloids thus redefining their popularity, and the revenue and status gained from press would be redistributed throughout the nation in different, hopefully more productive ways.
Freedom of assembly is long overdue for a complete overhaul. Freedom of assembly was once used for our founding fathers to get together in order to plot to overthrow the fascist British empire. Today, this is not the case, as freedom of assembly is used as a transparent guise for those who want to congregate to plan detrimental acts of terror. Many people who collaborate and use the excuse of freedom of assembly are usually up to something dangerous.
The KKK uses freedom of assembly to get together and terrorize people of color. Hate groups use freedom of assembly to come together and use their freedom of speech to talk smack and often get active in their hate about whoever they choose to target. Assembly is not inherently evil, like freedom of speech, but in many cases this freedom is used in a nefarious way. By removing freedom of assembly, it would make it illegal to get groups together, making it harder for people with like minds for destruction to congregate.
Freedom of redress originally allowed citizens to address their local or national government with concerns about policy that they feel needs to be changed. Once, when the United States was still new and the population was small, government was closer to the people, and policies were reworked and amended frequently, redress was a viable option for citizens who wanted to change ordinances. In today’s world, it would be hard if not impossible to push a piece of legislation through even a town’s local government, much less on a larger scale such as congress.
In today’s world, the average layperson has little to no say in how the government is run. Even in elections it is not guaranteed that the person who wins the popular vote will win the presidency (as we see in Gore v. Bush). One of the only ways that anyone could present legislature to congress or government as a whole would be to actually be elected into the position itself. Redress is simply not attainable anymore and is no longer needed in the constitution.
The United States is filled with people of varying opinions that often clash with one another. By removing the first amendment — freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and redress — this limits American citizens in what they an say and do, thus abolishing conflict that is internally destroying the country. Citizens are at war with each other over their choice of religion, what they choose to say, how they conduct themselves. These freedoms, established in the constitution, once had valid and logical reasons for being enacted when they were. However, in the United States today, these freedoms are outdated and are causing more controversy than what they are worth. By abolishing these innate rights, American citizens will no longer be allowed to showcase their individuality or voice their concerns, creating an overall more positive and peace-filled country.
- U.S. Const. amend. I.