The United States Constitution was, and is, a model for those who seek the “liberty and justice for all” lauded within The Pledge of Allegiance. Yet, soon after the Constitution’s initial ratification, the First Amendment was proposed. The fact that political leaders believed this amendment was essential illustrates the then young country’s commitment to the ideals of freedom.
These ideals remain vital to the country. As a citizen, I value each of the First Amendment’s assurances equally. As an educator, I am reminded of one of these assurances daily.
The freedom of speech ensured by the First Amendment is a cornerstone of higher education. Without it, I would not be able to encourage open dialogue within my courses, which is essential. The free exchange of ideas is a foundation of our society, a foundation often built within education and ensconced by the rights affirmed within the U.S. Constitution.
Since we have been assured of and benefited from freedom of speech for well over 200 years in the United States, it can be easy to take such for granted. Yet, examples of scenarios, past and present, in countries where that freedom is not assured remind me of the significance of this and all aspects of the First Amendment.