Can’t we all TRY to get along?

Published 9:58 pm Thursday, February 8, 2018

The First Amendment grants Americans five things: freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the press, the right to peaceably assemble and the right to petition the government.

People are afforded the right to freedom of speech for many things other than just speaking, such as clothing, Facebook rants, signs or even license plates.

The First Amendment is oftentimes overlooked, and American’s freedom of speech tends to be completely forgotten, though it’s most often forgotten when someone is saying something disagreeable.

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Last Friday, eight lawmakers voted against a specialty plate in the House of Delegates. The plate would have the message “Stop Gun Violence,” and naturally, those in opposition think that a plate advocating for less gun violence is a stand against guns.

It’s not.

The license plate, like some other specialty plates, donates funds to a charity related to the cause, and proceeds from this license plate would go to the state’s Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Fund.

The issue with this plate from the eight Republican delegates who voted against it likely comes from fear of gun control, but my real concern is not letting people display a message that means something to them.

Just because you don’t agree with the message, what right do you have to deny someone else that right to broadcast the message? You don’t, constitutionally, yet people are always up in arms about what other people have to say, and people are always trying to stop the speech.

Many groups are guilty of trying to stop speech rather than have a discussion about the speech or attempt to educate someone about their rhetoric.

Liberals do it every day with Trump and his lackeys. Yes, a good portion of what comes out of his mouth or on his Twitter account is offensive, but just because it offends a certain subset of people doesn’t mean it should stop. The same is said for Republicans, libertarians or any other affiliation someone may have.

Not everyone is going to like what others have to say, but the world needs to realize that they are well within their constitutional rights to put their beliefs out there in writing or in physical speech.

I have a few small points of advice for those looking to stop someone else’s speech. One, stop. Two, understand that they have a reason behind their point of view. Three, have a conversation with that person that is open and non-judgmental. You don’t have to agree with them or hug and make up afterwards, but you will leave with a better understanding. You will also live a happier life not being so angry towards the world.