Rights Require Responsibilities, Too

Apr 6, 2016

There has been quite a bit of conversation around “freedom of speech” since March 11, when the leading GOP presidential candidate’s rally in Chicago was cancelled. In a phone interview with MSNBC, the candidate asked, “What ever happened to freedom of speech?”

I reluctantly participated in a discussion about the violation of the presidential candidate’s First Amendment rights. I reminded everyone involved in the conversation that the multi-billionaire cancelled the rally out of “safety concerns” … thus, his rights were not violated. He could have spoken; he chose not to.

What I find more concerning is the limited dialogue around the fact that rights come with responsibilities. The 27 ratified amendments of the Constitution are not applied arbitrarily and without guidance. For example, the Second Amendment gives citizens “the right to keep and bear arms.” This right comes with the responsibility to obtain the right credentials and to store arms safety in the home.

Doesn’t the same apply to the first amendment? Especially for someone who desires to be the next Commander-in-Chief of the United States.

Generalizing all illegal immigrants from Mexico as criminals and rapists is irresponsible. Suggesting all Muslims be barred from entering the United States is irresponsible. Suggesting women should be punished for abortions is irresponsible.

Yes, we all have the right to freedom of speech … but that right comes with responsibilities. If his rhetoric were responsible, this candidate could have brought peace to his rally and it could have gone forth as planned.

I’m Joe Mitchell, and this is my perspective.