When Does Freedom of Speech Go Too Far?

Every morning in Washington DC, streets are littered with pamphlets and brochures. People who commute using the Metro subway system are constantly given the opinions of their peers by means of postcards, loudspeakers, picket signs, and flyers. Drivers within the district turn their radios up as high as possible to drown out the loud protests that cover Washington DC’s streets.When does freedom of speech go too far? The truth is, it can’t.

Not if you’re the one exercising your right, that is.

Americans have every right to speak their minds, which is a luxury that many people take for granted. While using our rights, it is important to remember that we are not isolated. The United States has a huge population of people, from all walks of life, who might or might not appreciate the statement that is being made. Of course, there is nothing wrong with using a persuasive argument to get your point across. There is a problem, however, when you use your rights to force your opinions upon another person in an offensive way. Who is to say, however, what is and what is not offensive? This is a question that many people are constantly asking, and constantly trying to change.

Forcefully pushing your ideas to other people can be done in many ways. Physically shoving paraphernalia into people’s hands, using loud speakers, and interfering with people’s every day lives can be considered rude and obnoxious, no matter what sort of message is being conveyed. The truth remains that people do not like being told what to believe, but rather, people can be persuaded into a belief system if the argument comes calmly and logically. Many people nowadays completely ignore this, which is why difference in opinion can often become violent.

While the government can try to control what people can say and how they can say it, there will always be the odd man out who will try to fight for what he believes he should be able to say. The media is often altered by a majority vote, and limits are set according to how many people believe in their cause. While many of these people push their beliefs as a morality issue, there are times when they impose their beliefs on the rest of the population, and limit what was once enjoyed and revered by others.
We can’t, as Americans, allow what was once our greatest treasure to become our greatest downfall. Freedom is something which must be enjoyed and used for the good of all, not just a limited few. Americans who believe that their cause is the most worthy must attempt to express it in a way that will attract people, rather than repel them. Isn’t it far more feasible to post a sign that explains a cause in an organized and well thought out statement, rather than one which uses language that may be offensive?

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