Congratulations again to Rowan Addison and Alex Visconti, winners of our High School Essay contest.
By Rowan Addison
In our democracy we have many rights, responsibilities, and core values. Two very important rights of our America democracy our freedom of speech and equality. We possess these two core values, and they are essential to our basic human rights. Furthermore, it is our responsibility to preserve and uphold these rights so we can live in a democracy where we have our freedom of speech and equality.
What is the democracy? A democracy is freedoms. A democracy is equal opportunities. A democracy is justice. And a democracy is the people making the decisions. In our American democracy we have the right of freedom of speech. This encompasses other liberties like freedoms of thought, religion, and expression. If we don’t have freedom of speech, we will lose our democracy. Freedom of speech is so essential because our democracy is about the people having the power. Those people have a right to voice their opinions because a democracy is about the people deciding how their country will be governed. It is the responsibility of government and of our democracy to make sure these rights aren’t threatened. It is our responsibility as citizens to utilize our freedom of speech so we can hold the representatives we elect accountable. We are responsible for strengthening, securing, and building our communities. We are responsible for standing up for what we believe in, and for speaking out against injustice. When we see our president, who should be protecting these rights, challenging them, our democracy is threatened. The president has said news like NBC’s Saturday Night Live shouldn’t should receive “retribution” for their shows content, challenging our freedom of speech, thought, and expression. Freedom of speech allows us to voice the will of the people and this is what democracy is really about. The president wasn’t elected by the will of the majority, and now he is a threat to the power of the people and therefore a threat to our democracy itself. We don’t want a repeat of leaders in history who took away citizens’ rights like freedom of speech. We can’t allow our media to be censored and our American democracy to be threatened. Now is a vital time to utilize our rights as citizens and to defy those who want to stifle those rights.
Equality is another core value of our democracy. We all deserve our basic human rights. No matter who we are, a key part of this American democracy is a quality for everyone. Equality is important in our democracy because the democracy is about the citizens. Whether in the gender wage gap, immigration policies, or other forms of discrimination, equality is constantly being threatened by prejudice. We see this today when people who are trying to immigrate and asking for asylum aren’t being taken into our country equally and fairly. As a democracy, we need to protect this core value of equality. It is our responsibility to fight for equality and against the injustice.
Our American democracy is built on the principles of freedom, equality, and justice. Now, more than ever, we have to make sure we’re holding these principles and values. These core values are extremely important in our American democracy. They are not only the core, but also the foundation that this democracy was built on. If we don’t protect these values our country is going to lose what truly makes it a democracy: the will of the people. These values are essential in keeping our lives and our democracy intact.
American Democracy Handing off Freedom
By Alex Visconti
President Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Even a conservative president recognized the importance of American democracy: the freedom to reasonably do as one wishes. Freedom itself has its core liberties implemented in democracy, and we as Americans should stand up for those values anytime we see them threatened. These liberties are equality, unity, and opportunity.
Equality is the right to equal opportunity, and the right to be treated as everyone else is. It does not come without effort; equality was set into place through many legislations. Some examples of significant American laws include the Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Fair Housing Act of 1968, and the Jury and Selection Act of 1968. Without these important laws, the United States wouldn’t be able to provide the opportunities its citizens deserve. None of these laws came freely; they had to be fought for. One freedom fighter, Edward Brooke, was the first African-American man elected senator by popular choice. He used his position to fight for the Fair Housing Act 1968. He stated that he represents not only African American interests, but all of the American people.
Only with unity were these victories for equality possible. For many years, African Americans fought for equal rights. They accomplished their goal with much effort, one example being the Freedom Riders in 1961. An interracial group of students united, Visconti 2 called themselves the Congress of Racial Equality, and rode on a bus to Birmingham, Alabama to protest the inequality of the interstate bus system. Immediately upon arrival, they were repudiated and dismissed as aggravators to society. Their bus was destroyed and many were hurt. Despite this failure, as some would call it, they persevered and sent bus after bus to cities where they knew they would be seen and heard. After many ‘failures,’ they eventually brought the states to recognize what was happening. In the Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company– the case opened in 1961 after the rides– it was decided by the courts to desegregate the Interstate Commerce Commission. Through these students’ unification, their freedom was granted on busses. Unity needs to be protected because the right to protest and unify leads to freedom, equality, and opportunity.
Sixty years ago, African Americans couldn’t drink from the same water fountain as whites, but in 2009, the first African American stepped foot in the White House as president of the United States. Barack Obama is one of the many examples of taking advantage of opportunity offered. If one wishes to seek a better life through hard work, they should be able to. This is what America, as a democracy, should support and promote. The land of opportunity offers things such as school in order to educate people and offer the chance of a better life. A government-supported educational system is a big part of growth as many know; slave owners would keep their slaves uneducated and Nazi Germany made sure to rid its borders of doctors, lawyers, and other educated Jewish people, to make sure they couldn’t come up with a cerebral plan such as unification. Education widens opportunity because it informs people on how the Visconti 3 world works. Studying history, someone is likely to see how they can repeat or avoid things that worked in certains ways for others.
Without these three American values, our democracy would fail as is evidential throughout history. Equality allows all to have equal options, unity gives a larger platform for people to fight for what they believe in, and opportunity expands an individual’s ability to reach higher places in life. We as Americans are obligated to protect these three values when passed onto the next generation as president Ronald Reagan once said.