Northwest Missourian Opinion

Massachusetts is a b----.

If the aforementioned state gets its way, that statement would be illegal. 

Massachusetts wants to make the b word illegal when used as a negative comment towards others. So, if any basic eighth grader is caught saying this “naughty” word, they are subject to a hefty $500 fine.

 The First Amendment is under attack, and if we, as Americans, don’t defend it, then our country is lost.

Yes, I know, words hurt sometimes. Nobody likes being insulted. However, this ongoing trend of trying to ban words that people might be offended by is increasingly worrisome.

The idea of the government trying to pass laws saying what people can and cannot say goes against the very ideals the Founding Fathers stood and fought for. 

However, Americans seem to want to put a leash on free speech.

In a recent poll by Campaign for Free Speech, talking to 1,004 respondents, over 60% wanted to curb free speech and give jail time for “hate speech.” 

In the same poll, those people also came after my profession. They want the government to “take action against newspapers and TV stations that publish content that is biased, inflammatory or false.” 

And take a guess at what they want the punishment to be: jail time.

To ban words, thoughts and opinions is a dangerous, slippery slope. Who decides what is hate speech? What words would suddenly become illegal? Would certain groups get the “rights” to certain words? 

I view this as an attack.

To come after my God-given rights, protected by the Constitution, as both a citizen and as a journalist, feels like a personal attack. 

I love the First Amendment. It grants me the right to speak out without fear of the government throwing me in a cell and calling it a day. If we allow “hate speech” to be banned, then any dissenting opinion could be considered hate speech.

I don’t think people should go around insulting each other, but I do believe a person should have the right to speak their mind, whether or not it’s popular or kind. 

I don’t think journalists should be able to make up stories. That’s not our job. That’s what authors are for. 

However, some of the biggest journalistic breakthroughs come from talking about what isn’t the status quo. Muckrakers changed the government, and it certainly wasn’t popular with those in charge. 

Free speech is vital to a healthy society. The minute we start penalizing the usage of words, we take away our own freedom. 

The Constitution is a living document, designed with the future in mind. It feels regressive to demand we take away the protection of free speech and free press. It’s facsim at its finest.

Massachusetts, stop being a little b---- and let people speak freely.

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