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Freedom of speech should not be an issue

Being aware of the events that have taken place regarding the hanging of the Confederate flag, we must all take a closer look at the issue at hand.
 First off, every person of all genders and from every background who is a citizen of the United States of America has a First Amendment right.
 By law, it states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, or to petition the government for a redress of grievances. This means that the First Amendment protects everyone’s right to speak, print, follow their own religious beliefs, assemble for what they believe in and petition for what they don’t. 
 With this being the law, rightfully everyone has the freedom to express themselves based on their beliefs. However, when it comes to whether or not these freedoms are offensive, the First Amendment does not address the issue.
 The meaning behind something for one person, can often mean something different to someone else. For example, if Sally wears a red shirt and Johnny thinks red shirts are bad because his family taught him that people who wear red shirts are Satanic, should Sally not be able to wear her red shirt?  It is Sally’s First Amendment right to wear what she chooses, but should Sally possibly be considerate of Johnny’s feelings because she now knows that it is offensive. We should all come to the conclusion that everything can be offensive to everyone.
 Being that we are all at a college level, we now all have to realize that there will always be a variety of viewpoints that may be offensive to us. Knowing this we should be more open to hearing others opinions and not immediately take offense without hearing someone else’s view on an issue.
 We must be sensitive to whether or not we offend- however not too sensitive as to block the expression of someone else’s viewpoints. If there is really an issue behind these matters, then openly discussing them will help educate and bring forth truth in why it offends as well as why it doesn’t.
 By discussing these issues, we all may still not agree with others’ opinions, but we can all agree that  everyone has the right to express them.

This editorial was written by Danielle Everson (dveverson@valdosta.edu) and it expresses the opinion of the entire editorial staff.

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