The fundamental rights of the citizens of the United States are the grounds to which the government and nation function. These rights were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence and guaranteed in our U.S. Constitution, which is the model for all governments in western democracy.
The most important part of the U.S. Constitution is the First Amendment.
It allows for the citizens of this great nation to be the catalysts of social change; the direction of social change is determined by the people, not government policy. When citizens exercise their first amendment rights, they lead the government to make laws that reflect their ideology. There is a line that has been crossed by both the aggressors and the government.
The two happen to believe that government is the answer, yet most of these problems are established from not recognizing the elementary principles of the union. One of the ideas addresses the issue that is “big” government.
President Thomas Jefferson wrote in The Declaration of Independence that “when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
The Founding Fathers wanted to make sure that no matter the time, the citizens had the right to change the government in order to change the country.
Centralized government was and is a big worry that many constitutionalists and originalists fear. This is due to the rise of people that view the government as the mechanism to solve social ills. The government was created as a way to slow down the nation, democracy as a whole is a slow process. For these reasons, the most efficient way to progress the nation is hrough individual effort and activism. This is portrayed in the Civil Rights Movement.
African Americans and allies were given a disadvantage by government policies such as Jim Crow laws, and thus knew it was their God-given duty to change the system. Decades later, the citizens of the United States are still fighting the same fight, but against de-facto customs, not laws. Although the majority of America did not support or just stayed independent of the Civil Rights Movement, it is due to the people that saw the injustice on behalf of the government, that we today have an equal government.
Arguing personal choices clouds the vision of how much progress this nation has gone through, yet the nation is in better hands with people as the mechanism of change rather than the government. Democrats and Republicans, although for the most part partisan, agree that the cornerstone to the nation is the First Amendment.
Both President Ronald Reagan and President Barack Obama agree with this sentiment. President Reagan, the 40th President and Republican, said that “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem."
While decades later President Obama, the Democratic 44th President, reiterated this idea, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Although the wording is different, both presidents placed much of their beliefs in the will of the people to change the country, rather than wait for the government.
This ideology goes hand-in-hand with the First Amendment, which includes the right of freedom of speech.
Freedom of Speech in this context should not be controversial, speech is not violence, unlike what the protestors at Ben Shapiro’s event at University of California Berkeley shouted, nor is speech an excuse for hate, as displayed in Charlottesville. Speech allows for the ability to disagree, and change the country. Both are concepts that citizens perform; yet one should not underestimate how powerful a voice is.
This upcoming election cycle will show if America is united enough to recognize this fact or not. The risks of the later are greater than anything this generation or any of the recent generations have seen.
Please vote, please be the change you want to be and as always do not deny others’ their First Amendment right, or any right!
Paul Vernick is a member of the GW College Republicans. The opinions expressed on this blog are his own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official views of the GW College Republicans.