Part of being American is being able to form your own beliefs and opinions, without imposing those beliefs on others.

One of the main things that the Founding Fathers wanted was our right to have freedom of speech. They wanted Americans to say what they want and what they feel without persecution. We were given the opportunity to choose a side in political parties. Today in America, those values are not being followed.

Americans today believe so strongly in what they believe, that they turn to hatred and even violence because they get offended or angry when someone disagrees with them. There have been numerous cases where people or groups are faced with others who disagree with them.

Part of being American is being able to form your own beliefs and opinions, without imposing those beliefs on others. Many Americans today try to force their viewpoints on others around them because they think that their viewpoint is right and others are wrong. Maybe we need to look at things on both side of the spectrum.

There are many different groups that protest for what they believe is right. However, there have been cases where these protesters are faced with people who disagree with them, and these protesters sometimes use violence and vandalism when they don’t get their way.

According to Fox News, in July, 2015, protesters were protesting the monument of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, stating that Lee was a racist and supported slavery. While protesting the monument, they vandalized the statue with the words “Black Lives Matter”.

CBS News states that in February, 2016, members of the Ku Klux Klan were holding a protest in Anaheim California. After the protest began, protesters from different groups confronted the KKK and arguments erupted. More Klan members showed up and fights immediately broke out. Three people were stabbed during the fight and thirteen people were arrested.

The LA Times claims that more recently, in September, 2017, the streets of St. Louis, Missouri were flooded with people protesting a recent police shooting. The protests started peacefully, but as the night went on the peaceful protesters left and the more violent ones stayed behind. The police got involved to contain the situation as the violent protesters were acting out and destroying various things on the street.

One might argue that it’s these groups’ rights to have their freedom of speech, to speak how they feel and act as they please. While it’s true that everyone has the right to say what the please, they don’t have the right to do whatever they want. There are laws that restrict people’s actions, and if they break those laws they will face consequences. While it’s true that not all protest groups vandalize and use violence, we mostly hear about the groups that are breaking laws, thus giving other protest groups a bad reputation. People say that these groups have the freedom of speech to protest what they want, freedom of speech, however, it should stop when laws are being broken.

Society is being separated because of all of these actions. There are different groups being divided into their own “tribes” rather than being one community. We, as Americans, need to realize that forcing viewpoints upon others is wrong. Today, people are scared to express their opinions because other people will react the wrong way. We need to see the importance of other people having different viewpoints and see that everyone is entitled to their opinion. War Journalist, Sebastian Junger in his book Tribe states, “...intact communities are far more likely to survive than fragmented ones.” We need to realize that all of our opinions have value and most importantly become one whole unit again… like what the Founding Fathers imagined America to be.




Columbus High School What It Means To Be American

This group is comprised of Columbus High School students in Columbus, Montana. They have written arguments with the National Writing Project's C3WP materials to answer the question "What does it mean to be American?" posed by Mark Meckler in the documentary film American Creed.

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