Free Speech Allows for Open Debate Among Students
First and foremost, the College Republicans would like to state unequivocally that in no way was Tuesday’s event meant as an attack on anyone. Our sole purpose was to discuss Islamic extremism in an open and intellectual manner per our First Amendment right of freedom of speech. The event was free and open to the public, which of course means that one was free to go or not to go.
Freedom of speech is vital to the American way of freedom and democracy. These elements of our society are what set us apart from so many other nations in the world. The freedom to disseminate information and discuss any topic is integral in our mission to have a more educated society. Hiding information and censoring ourselves only serves to stunt the free expression of ideas. The free marketplace of ideas is essential to understanding the world around us. It is only by having open debate can the truth be found. Being politically correct gives people a fortress to cower behind to avoid discussing difficult issues.
The event on Tuesday served to showcase the differences between America and the countries around the world where violence broke out over the same cartoons. Anti-Semitic and anti-Western cartoons were shown along with the Muslim cartoons. A fair and balanced discussion took place and people left with a better understanding of the world. Outside there was a loud and passionate protest against the event. There were no incidences of violence and each side was able to express itself. In the end, everyone inside and outside of the event was a winner.
Francis Barraza is the treasurer of the College Republicans.