Free As Can Be

Free As Can Be

Jackson Cianciulli, Editor-in-Chief

Unbeknownst to the masses, this week is National Free Speech week, something frequently taken advantage of by American citizens. Every article, blog post, novel, bumper sticker expressing your political belief, piece of art, and Tweet ever composed, as different as they all may be, are all made possible due to The First Amendment, adopted in 1791, which states that Americans have the constitutional right to freedom of speech.

As American citizens, we’re much more privileged than we may think, and the  primary reason for this is we live in a country built on freedom of speech. We encourage writers with all kinds of beats, from your high school sports to hard news, to speak their mind on a variety of topics. If the idea of freedom of speech was never implemented in society, we would never have heard from legendary film critic Roger Ebert, controversial radio show host Howard Stern, opinionated comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers, or virtually any journalist.

It’s not just loud people who want their opinion heard that are affected by The First Amendment, either. Mrs. Marootian is known as the English teacher for many freshmen and seniors, but what some may not know is that she also doubles as the teacher for popular elective Film & Literature, a class where students view and analyze critically-acclaimed classics and modern classics to further develop knowledge on the film industry and movies as a whole.

When asked if the movies we watch would be affected by the removal of freedom of speech, she said, “Definitely. As…audience member, we’d be greatly affected if there was no freedom of speech, not to mention the reviews for these films wouldn’t be as good.”

As an aspiring journalist, the idea of freedom of speech resonates strongly with me, considering my dream career would practically be nonexistent without it. I hope readers take this week, and other weeks, to step back and assess how lucky we, as American citizens, are to have the right to say what we want, within reason. Living in a censored country like North Korea, where all radio and television stations are owned by the government and no independent journalists are allowed, would be a complete transformation for us, definitely for the worst. So, next time you text your friend expressing your frustration and anger towards an assignment, just know that in many countries, that text isn’t even allowed.

You can learn more about Free Speech week, along with some fun things you can do during this week, here: