I asked 6 people 4 questions about the First Amendment to see what they thought about it… I recorded our conversations and am writing what they said. Also, here are the questions I asked them…
- Do you agree or disagree with the freedoms? Explain.
- Which do you support, and which do you think are excessive or provide too much freedom?
- Do you recognize the law? (Note how many identify it as the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and how many do not. Note the percentage from each age group.)
- Optional: If you are willing to do so, please share your political leanings—Republican, Democrat, Independent, not sure, disaffected, apathetic, or other.
Katherine Lorio: (Female, 19 y/o)
- She agrees with the freedoms because “I believe that everyone has their own opinions and they should be able to speak their opinion and live their lives the way the want to.”
- “I support all of these freedoms but freedom of speech and press need have some guidelines such as for freedom of press. I think that the press leans too far to the right for some press and too far to the left for others. It pushes the public into one and causes controversy and a lot of problems.”
- “It’s the First Amendment!”
- “Um you know I’m in the middle. I don’t really speak politics. If I were to vote right now for the Trump v Clinton election I would vote Trump because that was what I was raised for.”
Abigail Smith: (Female, 19 y/o)
- “I agree with all of these freedoms. I’m pretty sure that all people should be able to pick how they want to live and deserve to live freely. I think it’s fair for people to pick what they believe in. I feel like these freedoms are amazing for America based on our belief system. Sadly there are many countries where such freedoms are not even possible. I do also think that it’s okay that we have missionaries that try to share their view and freedoms like these.”
- “Well I feel like lately there’s been a lot of protests and just ‘rowdiness’. I don’t think that freedom of speech is being utilized the way that the writer’s of the Constitution and the amendments intended it to be.”
- When I asked her if she knew what this was she said she was not sure what amendment it was but did in fact know it was an amendment!
- “Well I am Republican and I voted for Trump. I went and voted. I should probably watch the news more but I do heavily weigh in on what my parents talk about regarding politics. Because I was raised in this era, I think I am more independent and not as Republican as my parents. I am definitely not crazy right.”
Hadley Clyce: (Female, 19 y/o)
- “I agree with the freedoms given because everyone should be able to have and uphold of the rights given by this law.”
- “I support all of them but sometimes freedom of press can get a little too out of hand for celebrities. Everyone is entitled to their own private lives just like everyone is entitled to their own freedoms.”
- “Yes! The First Amendment!”
- “Honestly, I don’t really care enough about the government. I feel as though college people should be involved but have so much time to grow into their beliefs before picking a true side.”
Linleigh Alford: (Female, 20 y/o)
- “I agree with all of the freedoms. I think that it was put in place many years ago with a purpose.”
- “I support all of them. None provide too much freedom. Our county wouldn’t be how awesome it is if it weren’t for these freedoms. That’s why people move here so often.”
- “Yes, I recognize the law. I’ve always been more of a rule follower. They are put in place for the safety and protection of ourselves as citizens.”
- “I am more conservative. There are a few thinks that I think the far right conservatives are a bit too harsh about, but I definitely agree with many of the conservative outlooks and beliefs. A few democratic things I agreed with was the legalization of gay marriage and higher pay for teachers! But, I voted for Trump.”
Tracy Barkley-Ackley: (Female, 50 y/o)
- “Yes I agree with the freedoms– it is all I have ever known my entire life.”
- “At times, I have concerns with the freedom of press as in some instances, innocent victims are wrongly paraded in front of the world, only the be proven innocent in the long run. And the article is then rescinded on page 4 after the Toyota ad… I feel the liberal media has taken things too far.”
- “Yes, I recognize the law… whether I agree with a law or not, it is the law.”
- “I consider myself mostly Republican but am leaning more towards a pragmatist each day… Sick of the entire political party thing. Just want things better for everyone…”
Michael Ackley: (Male, 50 y/o)
- “Yes, I agree with these freedoms, but there are limitations.”
- “Freedom of press as long as they are not receiving government money. Freedom of religious- the government should not favor one religious over another. I agree with freedom to assemble as long as it is peaceful and abides by all laws and does not interfere with anyone who does not want to participate.”
- “It is the First Amendment.”
- “Republican/Independent– take care of yourself and everyone else later.”
Overall, the patterns that I saw were pretty much the same no matter the gender or age. However, with my mom and step-dad, since they are older, they are more aware of political things going on in this country and have true opinions. Oftentimes, we make our political opinions when we are older because we are able to actually decide on our own what we believe is right or wrong and not just what our parents believe. Also, since both my mom and step-dad have completed college and have degrees, they are more educated on these types of issues and have been exposed to all of these freedoms being tested and stretched.
Overall, all of my subjects are supportive of the First Amendment as it has made this country what it is today. The patterns show that all of the people who I asked are Republicans and I believe that is mainly based on where/who I am asking. Most of these people are from areas where being a Republican is the norm and we all live in a tiny bubble that condemns anything that could be slight liberal.
I think the way that my interviewees judged the freedoms were exactly what was to be expected in this era and age of political unrest. Overall, I saw that the common issue regarding all of these freedoms was freedom of press and speech. Freedom of press is a huge issue these days especially with our current president, as well as the fact that most press is liberal and decide that no matter what Trump does, everything is bad. They refuse to point out the goods that he has done and only the things that could shame him and make Trump seem like a bad president.
According to the First Amendment Center, most people nowadays find that Americans have too much freedom. Although I think that is sort of crap, I slightly agree. We think that we can speak however we want without getting harmed or without being deemed incompetent or disrespectful… which is so incredibly false. We have to respect everyone and especially our president. I was always told by my mom that even though I didn’t like Obama, I still had to respect him as he was the most important person in America… but those liberals fail to do the same in regards to Trump.