The repression of the first amendment, and the alternatives to censorship.

Essay by mistereddiUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2003

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Americans used to appreciate the First Amendment. We had a real soft spot for the idea that speech should be safe from the interference by those in power. The first of our rights, freedom of _expression, was fundamental to how we defined ourselves as a nation and as individuals. Sometime in the mid-1980s, we began to hear angry citizens announce that they no longer believed that the freedoms of speech are being used the way the forefathers had intended. People were voicing their opinions and views, which were rabble-rousing the nation. Something had to be done, and that something was shutting these people up. The suppression or attempted suppression of something regarded as objectionable has been a practice used historically to phase out inappropriate speech. The suppression of speech is a technique which goes against our First Amendment, therefore should not be used. This technique of censorship should be replaced by more meaningful modus operandi such as discussing, debating, and exposing the truth.

The First Amendment used to be the tool of lawyers, teachers, and government officials. Lawyers used the amendment to protect a client, teacher would teach without interference, and government officials could lash out at others without the fear of imprisonment. These professions used the freedoms of speech as a shield against despotism in their respective fields. Now, we live in a time of "gangsta" rap, ridiculous news headlines, intelligent conversations, which turn into, blame mongering and moral defamation. We in fact, honor those who use the First Amendment as a sword to fulfill their goals. Offensive Artist of the Week, and Most Controversial Radio DJ, are a couple awards which are given out to people who express their radical opinions. For this reason, censorship has become a hot topic. The urge to shock, defy, or annoy, is...