Growing up in the counterculture of conservatism, I have noticed an effort by certain groups to silence dissenting opinions. Being a college student I see first-hand the attacks on free speech. Not until I got to campus did I realize how bad the problem was. Lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly are considering legislation that would protect and preserve free speech rights on college campuses across the state. There is no greater on-campus need.
Free speech is the foundation of any great democracy. That is why the founders listed freedom of speech first in the Bill of Rights. Without that protection, propaganda by the majority would dominate. Dissenting opinions would be increasingly censored. Without the first amendment protecting movements like civil rights, the Vietnam protests, and many more, we would never see growth in society and the broadening of opinions.
I am grateful to our lawmakers in Raleigh for seeing the attack on the free speech rights of college and university students across the state. I have experienced the erosion of protection for free speech rights. I was in a class where the professor asked, “Do you want to be free?” Nearly everyone raised their hand.
The professor then asked, “Should the government tell you how to think?” Nearly everyone raised their hand to say “no.”
The professor asked a final question: “Should every American have free speech?” Only five students out of more than 100 raised their hand.
Because censorship has been pushed on students by their peers, professors, and the institutions they attend, free speech rights are constantly under attack on campuses across the state. It’s time to end these attacks. Sign GO’s petition to urge your elected officials in Raleigh to protect and preserve free speech rights on college campuses!
Michael DeSantis is a freshman studying political science and economics at UNC at Charlotte. He managed two campaigns during the 2016 election season. He is passionate about the American Dream and freedom.