What the Constitution Says You Can Do About the Election Results

My parents are conservative. This fact is not a badge of shame I wear around my liberal friends, but it is also not a political standpoint I comfortably associate myself with. I grew up knowing how my religion viewed certain social topics often debated by both parties, and, coming from two marine grandparents, was around a positive environment towards traditional views about the military and foreign policy. I was also raised by a family that encouraged me to form my own opinions. My parents were the first to admit when they were wrong, and debates within our house were held without judgement. This open-minded environment that encouraged me to voice my opinion allowed me to feel comfortable enough to disagree. I could disagree with my friends, but as I became older and was informed about other political views, learned how to respectfully disagree with my parents as well.

After watching Donald Trump’s inauguration, it is clear to the world that the United States does not share this form of comfortable debate. On one side, I can understand why. When both the page on LGBTQ+ rights and climate change were taken down shortly after President Trump was sworn in to office, many viewed it as the visual representation of the sound sirens make commencing the annual Purge. In the past October debate, President Trump has made it clear that his views on women’s right to abortion are in favor of lawmakers making those decisions. “The justices that I’m going to appoint will be pro-life,” Trump stated. “They will have a conservative bent.” In a Fox News coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls, Trump voiced his idea to defund Planned Parenthood, which currently is the largest provider of reproductive health services in the United States, offering healthcare, education, and domestic violence services to nearly 5 million women, men, and adolescents annually. Trump plans to dismantle the Department of Energy and many of former President Obama’s environmental policies because they are undermining businesses. Additionally, Trump has repeatedly pledged to toughen immigration laws through executive actions, which has left millions of undocumented immigrants unsure of their futures.

What most media outlets and liberal-leaning voters failed to understand during the election was that there was an entire population of Americans who agreed with what Trump was proposing. These Americans – the majority being male without a formal education – were not protesting to protect Planned Parenthood. They wanted tougher immigration, less government regulation, and a complete change from the Obama administration.

Now that Trump has been sworn in to office, there are an array of both angry and approving opinions being voiced across all platforms of media. The question that seems to be asked the most from both opponents and supporters is this: What can I do about the election results?

Those who oppose all aspects of President Trump’s ideas want supporters to realize they are in fear for their healthcare, undocumented family members, and the environment. Meanwhile supporters explain their vote was one for radical change within the government from a man who is not a career politician. Since both sides of the election are eager to send their message out, it is difficult to find a medium platform on which to deliver their ideas in a constructive way. Luckily for Americans, the Constitution provided us with a tool that addresses this issue directly. In fact, this certain instrument of law was designed specifically for situations where Americans could not agree and needed an outlet in which to debate peacefully for or against the government while still being heard.

Introducting: The First Amendment.

To understand the reasoning behind this amendment, it is important to first know what it specifically says and the history behind it. The Constitution was written during the Philadelphia Convention – now known as the Constitutional Convention –which convened from May 25 to September 17, 1787. It established the United States’ fundamental laws and guaranteed basic rights for American citizens.

The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The purpose of this amendment implemented by the United States’ original government was to grant freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. It prohibits Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. Most importantly, the First Amendment guarantees the right to petition the government. It grants this right to newspapers, media outlets, magazines, television, and even the individual American citizen.

So what does this have to do with the election results?

It is evident that Americans are frustrated. They are upset with their neighbors when one calls Republicans against the rights of minorities and the other calls Democrats corrupt with over-regulation. I see this anger. I see it through protests on my television and college campus. I see it in the eyes of my sisters who worry they cannot afford to test the lumps in their breasts through Planned Parenthood. I see it in the eyes of my brother’s middle school teachers unable to teach the subjects that stimulate their students because of Common Core standards. I see it the faces of my peers who call me a bigot for not supporting Clinton, and un-American for not supporting Trump.

When our new President speaks out and you have an opinion… speak back. Fight speech with more speech. The First Amendment is a tool given by our Founding Fathers for this exact moment in history. This is an era where anyone can become a writer. If you disagree with Trump on an issue or thoroughly support his views and want others to understand your reasoning, the Constitution urges you to speak.

With modern technology, the time to act through words is now. Create a blog. Write freelance articles. Form your own newspaper. Hold speeches on the lawns of your campus. This is the time to educate and inform.

I know it is hard not to use violence on both sides of the debate when our brothers and sisters are completely divided and each side cannot seem to fathom the other. However, disliking the new President does not equate to turning your back on patriotism. There is so much potential in this nation to turn our frustration and fear in to the generation that spoke out. We the people can become a body that churned our emotions in to educating others; exposing the truth by dismantling clickbait articles and becoming journalists.

In the words of Winston S. Churchill: “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

 

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