Family picnics, sparklers, and watermelon seed spitting contests. These are all part of the Fourth of July fun here in the United States. While it’s an opportunity to say that funnel cake has no calories because it’s a holiday, it’s also a chance to celebrate the ideals that our country was founded on, especially the first amendment.
Our question this episode: what does it mean to exercise our right to free speech effectively and responsibly?
In this episode, I offer some brief reflections on the first amendment, specifically about free speech, as a way to acknowledge the observance of Independence Day here in the US. And of course, because the US isn’t the only country to enjoy free speech, I hope at least pieces of what I have to say apply to listeners in the 49 other countries that are part of the How Can I Say This… community.
I’m going to offer a bit of historical and legal context for the first amendment, but being that I’m neither a historian nor a lawyer, and I’m not prepared to dive into the highly complex topic of what freedom of speech means from a legalistic standpoint, I’m going to quickly pivot to more practical, everyday applications that inform how we express ourselves and communicate with one another.
We owe the very existence of this podcast, and the fact that the words we choose to say on this podcast are largely protected, to the first amendment. Its existence is key to our independence, which in my mind, makes a brief exploration of the implications of free speech a fitting Independence Day tribute. Plus, I’m reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, so I have the genesis of our country very much on my mind right now!
Resources for Further Learning*
Introduction to the Bill of Rights (Thanks to listener Jennifer Fuller and her daughter, Jessie, for sharing this rich resource!)
Freedom of Speech Landmark Cases | Bill of Rights Institute
*Amazon links are affiliate links, meaning I earn a few pennies if you purchase after clicking through. The author/creator still received their full royalty, and I get a little bit to support bringing you awesome content. Win/Win!