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What Is the First Amendment and What Does It Do

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One quality of the Bill of Rights that I think is very good is the First Amendment. In short, it states that “Congress can not establish laws that interfere with one’s free speech or religion”. This is beneficial to all of us because it is what we as humans do on a daily basis and most importantly– constructs a democracy. We as unique individuals must communicate with one another in order to establish understanding, in order to establish mutuality. The First Amendment guarantees that our voices will not be muffled in the presence of greater authority, that we will be able to express ourselves freely. Moreover, this Amendment protects the country on a greater scale as well. With the knowledge that no one’s voice will be left unheard, the likelihood of riots or uproars will be greatly reduced because people are able to gather peacefully as well as express their thinking legally and peacefully. However, as much as this Amendment guarantees the safety of both the people and the government, this is also going to spark controversy and present itself as highly problematic.

In other words, I believe the First Amendment is both beneficial and problematic. As discussed in class, when someone does something that will induce chaos and cause destruction, it is considered illegal. Such conflict could easily spark up controversy as it directly contradicts what the First Amendment promises – the right to free speech. The First Amendment is vague and inconsistent in the sense that it causes us to question, what really does free speech mean? What is really considered hate speech? Such open ended definition within the Constitution proves itself to be extremely problematic as we can see based on the numerous court cases that has been held in regards to the First Amendment. Moreover, the First Amendment also creates loopholes that many could abuse. For example, when someone presses charges against another for defamation, the person getting sued could easily argue their diction, which is exactly where the problem lies. The First Amendment is not closed ended enough to prevent such incident from happening. Similarly, the First Amendment clashes with our modern law and technology. The First Amendment was designed to work around the people back then but as society advances forward, it will only fall progressively behind. To put my thoughts in context, I would like to describe this in terms of Donald Trump and his use of Twitter. In many of his tweets, he types as he speaks and as a result, is heavily unfiltered. As a result, people and news outlets, such as CNN, are pressured even heavier through his words. Trump would call the news outlets “fake news” or “crooked.”

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Although it doesn’t seem to violate the First Amendment, it still shows how easily the First Amendment can be exploited. I believe the First Amendment is both beneficial and problematic, and it all depends on how one defines and utilizes it, whether they have positive or malicious intents.

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