Staff Editorial: Free to be represented
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Freedom of speech has long been held as the token of the American people. We reference it, use it and even reverse for the power and protection that it offers. Despite our avid love for it, that love can sometimes put us in a bit of a paradoxical situation. The thing is, as much as we love it, sometimes we take it and do everything in our power to suppress it.
The reason for this is simple: people encourage and love what they want to hear and attempt to hinder what they do not. This issue has made it into courts, senate hearings and even the media time and time again as we test over and over again to what lengths Americans are willing to go to protect our beloved speech, or at times, hinder it.
Over time, the barrier between public and private interests and their outspoken counterparts has held true as the courts have ruled time and time again in the favor of the uncensored voice.
In Schenck v. United States the court held that, unless causing imminent danger to those around them, any citizen could voice their opinions, popular or otherwise, to whomever they chose in whatever setting they pleased. This set the precedent for future cases and laws that continued to test and expand the limit of this foundational ideal.
In The New York Times Co v. U.S. the courts held, against the supposed best interest of the government, that The New York Times could continue to print the Pentagon Papers to inform the people. The Times acted as more than a news outlet in this instance; rather, it acted as a warrior for the people, waging to battle in opposition to the government in order to gift the people with the knowledge they needed to continue to uphold our sacred democracy.
With ever expanding platforms for speech to be heard, or censored, in this day and age it is crucial to remember the purpose of free speech and important implications it holds for our nation as a whole. Whether by TV show or social media or blog it is key that the ideas and opinions of the American people are heard, because through this cacophony of varying ideas and opinions we find ourselves in the midst of one of the most inherent and essential fruit of the democratic spirit: the right to speak, the right to be heard, the right to matter.
For a nation, a people or even an educational institution to act in the interests of the people, there must be someone to voice the opinions and needs of the people, and the first amendment ensures that this ideal can be a reality.
For this reason, we as an editorial staff are strongly dedicated to preserving the rights set forth in Education Code 48907, which prohibits schools from censoring speech “because it presents controversial ideas and opponents of the speech are likely to cause disruption.”
Regardless of whether it is unpopular, unwanted or ignored, we will use these laws in order to represent you, the students of this campus, and ensure that your voices are heard and your needs are met. As author Joseph Pulitzer once said, “Every issue of the paper presents an opportunity and a duty to say something courageous and true; to rise above the mediocre and conventional; to say something that will command the respect of the intelligent, the educated, the independent part of the community; to rise above fear of partisanship and fear of popular prejudice.” This is the standard we have set for ourselves, and the ideal we hope to deliver to you.