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Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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Free Speech

By HANNAH VANDENBERG
Updated: 01/23/14 5:50am

There have been many times since my return to this wonderful institution we call school that I have been floored by the intelligence of my peers. Here they sit, five or more years younger than myself, and entirely driven to succeed in their education and in life. It’s inspiring to say the least. Sometimes my jaw drops at their insight and motivation.

We also have this beautiful thing we call freedom of speech. With this freedom we are able to express our personal opinions without fearing repercussion or abuse. Let that sink in, because it’s huge.

We see it (the use of this freedom of speech) all the time, including all of the idiots who express their views on topics that require research in order to be informed. You know what I’m talking about. Social medias like Facebook and Twitter are flooded with people sending out statuses on issues they know nothing about – politics, gun control, war, foreign conflicts, Justin Bieber. They sound like jerks while inviting fellow ignorant social media abusers to do the same. It can get a bit frustrating. If you haven’t experienced this internet phenomena yet, just wait for the next presidential election and you will then realize that I am entirely correct.

So, while this freedom can become frustrating in the case of the above instances or in one similar, there is still that comforting knowledge that those opinions, whether they’re annoying, uninformed, researched, intelligent, controversial, etc. are free to be expressed. The wonderful thing about it is that if we don’t agree, we can look away, stop reading, turn the t.v. off. We have control of that.

It’s when we turn to physical retaliation of an opinion or, in some cases of pathetic individuals, defacement of property, when one has stepped away from the whole freedom part and has turned it into entirely ignorant behavior. It’s in these instances when I am ashamed of my peers. You are not what GVSU stands for. We stand for freedom to express ideas and opinions to broaden our vision for the world we live in, and actions (including, but not limited to, the defacement of the Mary Idema Pew Library sign) is an attempt to stifle these freedoms.

I beg you, put down the Bacardi. You have the opportunity for an education that so many can only dream of. I would rather have you put your private parts on that steel ball any day if that would distract you from defiling our gorgeous new facility to enhance your learning experience in your early adulthood.

Published January 23, 2014 in Editor's Desk

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