Don’t misuse your rights!

In today’s current society, the first amendment is the most important thing in the constitution because, people are misusing their rights. The first amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting a establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” Also written in the first amendment is the “right of the people peaceably to assemble.” Everyone has the right to peacefully assemble, meaning no hateful slurs, no weapons, and most importantly; no death.

Many people twist the meaning of these rights to spread hate against ideals and lifestyles they do not agree with. The KKK and other white supremacy groups have always slandered and often times physically assaulted people of other races, sexual orientations and religions. For example, on August 12, 2017, a white supremacist named James Fields Jr. was attending the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He ran over and killed Heather Heyer, an anti-racism protester, because of her differing views.

The problem starts when someone is taught to believe that because of the color of their skin, the god they believe in, and who they are attracted to, they are better then anyone who is different. In March 2006, seven Westboro protesters flew more than 1,000 miles to attend the funeral of Albert Snyder ‘s son, Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, 20, who had been killed in Iraq that month. They held revolting signs that said things like “Thank God for 9/11” and “You’re Going to Hell” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers.” This behavior may appear peaceful because there was no physical harm however, serious mental and emotional damage was done. “To me, what they did was just as bad, if not worse, than if they had taken a gun and shot me,” a quote directly from Snyder in an interview with TIME magazine.

An example of the proper use of the first amendment can be found in a very recent event. For years it has been expected for patrons and players at sporting events to stand during the national anthem, but recently many players have been kneeling. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color,” Kaepernick said in a press conference after first sitting out during the anthem. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder.” These players feel the need for a change and are doing something peaceful to find the resolution.

I feel that if everyone just realizes we are all the same, America could be a better place. But if the misuse of the people’s rights continues the way they are, sadly, we will never achieve a unified nation.

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