by David Todd McCarty | Tuesday, August 25, 2015
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, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
These forty-five words encompass the most basic of American rights: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right of assembly, and the right of petition.
One might argue that it’s the basis, not only for our system of government, but our entire culture in these United States. The freedom of expression looms large in our political landscape; but also in our view of individual expression and the freedom from oppression.
But since nearly the beginning, it was understood as a delicate balance between the rights of the individual and the good of the whole.
This morning I was flipping through Facebook and I came across a series of disturbing posts concerning an off-campus residence at Old Dominion University who’s residents had decided to paint signs on bedsheets that hung from their balcony that read things like,
“Freshman daughter drop off”
“Rowdy and Fun. Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time…”
“Go ahead and drop off Mom too…”