Life, liberty, and the right to free speech

Nick Vanni, Beyond Liberty Editor

As an American, how do you expect our government to take criticism? With denial and condemnation, or with understanding and action? Do you expect to have the right to free speech?
Free speech is an essential right of all Americans—and one that President Trump is currently threatening. With his general dislike of the media and his ignorance about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump is sending a clear message to America and the rest of the world: censorship of the media is okay if it comes with reason.
How’s Trump doing this? The crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud (MbS), has fought against free press in the country during his reign, so Khashoggi’s criticisms of MbS’s rule led the journalist to be chastised in his own country. So when Khashoggi went missing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul early last month, it didn’t take much to trace the blame to MbS.
After Khashoggi’s disappearance, Trump’s priority was not to protect American ideals, but instead our trade deals with Saudi Arabia. Although he later chastised the Saudi government for their possible involvement in the incident, his continual attacks on the media have not been a good sign for American free press.
But why is all this important to us at Liberty?
Free speech is what allows us to make a difference in the world of bureaucracy. At school, the district has allowed students from each high school to voice their opinion on the proposed schedule change, and they have been open to the students’ thoughts.
Trump’s attacks on the media and general ignorance about attacks done by others have been very concerning, since without free speech being an essential right, a democracy such as this is threatened. We would never be able to speak up about issues across our school, city, and country, even if it’s as essential as the schedule change.
Trump’s trend towards a government that condemns the press is very concerning, and we need to prevent the essential right of freedom of speech from being taken from us before it’s too late.