The Mast: The Right to Listen

Editorial for the January 15th publication.

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The First Amendment is the foundational core of our nation. It grants us many of the rights that define us as Americans and the pillar of freedom in our world. However it always feels as if our founding fathers may have left something missing. Perhaps they forgot about it when they were deliberating over every word of the Second Amendment. When someone has the freedom to speak, there must be someone on the other side to listen in order for our words to matter.

It is not so much that we have the freedom to listen, as that implies that we have the choice not to listen; but it is our right and responsibility. Too often these days one side of an argument will not give the other side an opportunity to get a word in edgewise, let alone give them an ear or even two. Too often in school, a breeding ground for independent thought and creativity, we are doing our peers a disservice by always believing that we are right or being unwilling to receive input. Or another common example at school is when a simple conservation evolves into a shouting match. On both sides of the aisle people talk about values and when to stand your ground. Listening is one of those values that many of us need to consider and add to our moral compass.

Once we have changed our values and our perceptions we must approach the issue with a degree of responsibility and thoughtfulness that we would approach any other thing that we hold dearly in our lives and society. When we shut our ears we not only disrespect the people speaking but effectively nullify their right to free speech. Just as we as Americans defend to the death our First Amendment and the rest of the Constitution we should preserve the importance of listening in the same way.

In this day and age a single man can rise his way to the pinnacle of American culture through his abuse of the First Amendment. This is fundamentally wrong and we cannot let our society degenerate into the primal nation of an elementary school playground.  It is our duty and responsibility as citizens and residents of this great nation to preserve the true liberty, freedom and democracy that our founding fathers intended. Speak out when someone is abusing their right of the First Amendment and remind them that there is a responsibility to reopen their ears and just listen.

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The Barque aims to information and entertain the community of Bellevue High School by providing relevant, interesting content while promoting informed discussion of important and controversial topics.

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