George Washington once said, “If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” This quote is one of my favorite quotes because freedom of speech, in my opinion, is one of the most important of our basic freedoms. Without freedom of speech, we Americans would be unable to express our thoughts, opinions, and beliefs as we choose. If we were unable to speak our minds the government would become more powerful and controlling.
Assuming that the founding fathers never gave us the freedom of speech you would not be able to say anything against political leaders, practice certain religions, and you could be imprisoned for saying something bad about the wrong person. Also, to have freedom of religion, press, assembly, and petition I believe you have to have freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is the building block to all of our other freedoms. If you can not freely speak you can not freely write and if you can not speak you can not assemble and if you can not assemble you can not petition.
Today our freedom of speech is slowly being taken away. You can barely say anything without it being called a racist or white supremacist. People are defacing and destroying the founding father’s statues because they were white or they did not quite have the same ideals as some people do today. How does that not make the people pulling down the statues racist? Hundreds of thousands of Americans sacrificed their lives during the Revolutionary War so that future generations could be able to live freely without worrying about religious persecution and being ruled unfairly by a cruel government.
But the main reason there are so many people pulling down historical figures is because they have not been taught history. They have been taught a simplified version of history where everyone is either good or bad and where people do not have character flaws. No one is perfect. We are all human and sometimes we slip up. That is why those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it and as Thomas Jefferson wrote To Uriah Forrest, “Educate and inform the whole mass of the people… They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”
As citizens of the United States of America, we are so lucky to be able to have the freedoms we do. In Cuba, North Korea, Somalia, Chad, Uzbekistan, and many other countries they have very little to no rights. For example, in North Korea, if you upset Kim Jong-un he will send someone to kill you. Recently in China, there was a doctor who was trying to raise alarm over COVID-19 despite the Chinese government’s warnings. A few days later he disappeared.
We will never understand the sacrifice our ancestors made so that we could be free, but the least we can do is protect our rights for future generations. Our children and grandchildren have the right to experience the “American Dream” the same way we have and the biggest part of that is freedom of speech…