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Pro Protest

Teegan Saunders

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As the season of spooks approaches, I have come to the conclusion that ghouls and ghosts are not the only scare waiting in the night for me. One of the most frightening things is the debate about whether or not I should be allowed to exercise my right to protest. I don’t feel like whether I to stand for the pledge or kneel for the national anthem is harming anyone. Yet some people act like I’ve just threatened to break all their fine china or mutilate their Vineyard Vines shirt.

The First Amendment states that we are granted the freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly (Shoutout to Ludwig for the lesson on human rights). Freedom of speech is what gives me the right to even utter the words “right to protest” in this column. It is also what allows people to either approve or disapprove of my opinion on protesting. Freedom of the press is why we even have a newspaper in the high school in which we can write about athletes kneeling during the nation anthem.

I’m pretty sure that somewhere in that long list of personal and public rights I can find an argument as to why I am allowed to ignore the frankly irksome pledge of allegiance.  It’s a form of peaceful protest like boycotting unfair business or marching for women’s rights. Nobody gets harmed and I get to express my opinion.

I’ve had people verbally attack me for my opinion’s. I’ve had teachers pull me out of class in school to chastise me for not saying the pledge. Telling me I’m ungrateful for not respecting a country where I’m given more freedom then most women. That may be true, but that doesn’t make everything in America right.

To clear up any misconceptions, I don’t protest because I hate America or the American people. I rather like America and the freedom it allows me as a citizen. I understand there are far worse places to live. Still I’m not blind to the inherent flaws rooted in America since its creation. It’s not illegal to feel there are issues in America that could be fixed, and protesting those issues to spotlight them is important.

I want to live in an America where I’m allowed to point out the flaws in the system. I don’t want to feel unsafe while exercising my constitutional rights, nor do I want my peers to feel this way. Protesting should be a nondiscriminatory way of self-expression that I would never want taken away.

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Pro Protest