There are certain things about this grand nation of ours that simply mustn’t be taken for granted, ignored, undervalued, or misunderstood. The First Amendment is the number one, single most perfect example of such an item.
It is simply too important.
“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.”
This says, unequivocally, that you are free to speak your mind. This is the only way in which we can truly make a difference for ourselves as a nation, through unimpeded communication. Any attempts to mitigate our language or restrict our broadcasting abilities is wholly inexcusable. What is so worrisome, however, is the fact that a great many of us have forgotten this inalienable truth.
According to the Freedom Forum Institute’s annual “State of the First Amendment” (SOFA) survey, it looks like a shocking number of Americans are unfamiliar with their First Amendment rights.
Of the more than 1,000 people surveyed in May and June of this year, only one person was able to name all five First Amendment rights. A whopping 40 percent, however, couldn’t name any.
Among those who could name one or a few, the right to freedom of speech was the most commonly remembered, with 56 percent of respondents being able to list it.
This is troubling, to say the very least, but it does help to explain why the radical left’s rioting in Berkeley, California over a Milo Yiannopolous speaking engagement was so obliviously unconstitutional: Many of these millennials simply don’t understand how free speech works.