Democrats: Free speech is powerful; use it carefully

Jessica Kukura

Free speech should not be restricted or censored and should be held to high esteem by the speaker, endeared as a powerful tool.

American society relies on a free market of thoughts, but when thoughts are lies and speech is excluded from challenges, society is undermined. A free market of thoughts, just as an economy, cannot be corrupt or controlled by few; it must be carefully monitored. Free speech should be monitored not by an authoritative force, but by whom it derives its power from: the people.

Free speech is a right, guaranteed to us by the First Amendment. It is sacred, as well as it is unwavering.

Free speech is what provides us with a piece of our democracy. Our words are what mold our civilization. It was words that built the very foundations of our country. Free speech is our most powerful right, more powerful than even force.

Speech will always band together but just as easily tear apart. With powerful rights come equally powerful responsibilities.

Words carry strong connotations, and those connotations must always be considered. If words weren’t powerful, you wouldn’t be able to be sued for them or go to jail for them. If words weren’t powerful, nobody would ever die for them.

Free speech is a right, but also a responsibility.

Free speech should not be restricted, but it can be questioned.

Free speech should not be restricted, but hate speech should.

Free speech should not be restricted, but hate speech should be treated as fiercely as yelling “fire” in the movie theater without the threat of flames.

Free speech should not be restricted, but owners of words must be expected to answer to them.

If you speak words, you better be ready to answer for them, as free speech is just as much a responsibility as it is a right.  I am forever proud to be an American and even prouder of the liberty that our country ensures — not just for some, but for all.

When speech starts to restrict the freedom for individuals to feel safe in their communities, it is no longer a free-flowing idea but a threat. When speech starts to push others toward self-harm or suicide, it is no longer a free-flowing idea, but an assault. When the definition of free speech is contorted and mangled to justify irresponsible usage, it loses its integrity.

I do not call for a limit on free speech, but rather the understanding that words have power. To wield a sentence is to hold a piece of democracy; it must be respected, honored and preserved.

Jessica Kukura is the president of the College Democrats. Contact her at [email protected].