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VFW Voice of America Essay

Over the past years of our nation's history, we have strived to create a society encompassed with unalienable freedoms. With the formation of new communities, institutions, and companies, we endeavor to align our policies with equality. Efforts to ensure our rights are acknowledged and upheld have reached honorable measures. Many expend countless hours to guarantee our country is flowing with opportunities for growth, mutualism, and success. However, this nation we call home wouldn’t contain our democracy, brimming with various freedoms, if it wasn’t for the formation of a unique and noteworthy document - The Constitution.

But what makes the Constitution such a valued standard of living? Embedded in our constitution are lists of profound rights, truths, and motivations that continuously increase our patriotism toward the principle of freedom. Each phrase is fabricated with descriptive details and astonishing philosophies to establish peaceful conduct. That being said, one of our country's greatest ideologies of democratic freedoms can be found in the First Amendment.

It reads, “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 to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Freedom of religion protects an individual’s or community's right to manifest their religion or belief in worship, observance, or practice, either in public or private settings. This concept points out that many religions may be present in the country, and people are permitted to choose which one they would like to follow.

Concerning freedom of speech, this amendment assures the right to form ideas and share opinions openly and to speak and write freely without facing punishment, interference, or retaliation from the government. We have the right to compare our theories for refining purposes, give feedback on governmental procedures, and develop different viewpoints to express ourselves.

Along with our freedom to declare our words through innumerable methods, we have the right to publish and dissipate information and thoughts on matters without censorship or governmental restraint. We observe this as journalists report on public interests, the press publicizes crucial information to citizens, and the media communicates the country's needs to our government officials.

Another indicator of our democratic freedoms is the right to collectively assemble peacefully to hold meetings, rallies, strikes, or even protests to promote or defend shared interests and ideas.

These assemblies raise awareness in the country to advocate for change; whether that be in policy, political status, human rights, or any other issue that may be presented.

Concluding this amendment is the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances; specifically meaning people can ask the government to provide relief from a political issue or to fix a wrong by governmental action. Giving power to the people to establish our government permits awareness of our country’s problems , no matter what the magnitude, to be solved.

Each freedom recorded in the First Amendment is a fundamental cornerstone of our democracy. Every moment we reside in this country, we are granted with undeniable rights that determine our daily lives. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many countries around the world.

Oftentimes, our country overlooks the realities many people encounter within their societies.

Similarly, just like the freedoms listed in the First Amendment become second nature to us, it becomes normal for us to expect these freedoms to be offered to everyone who desires them.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), 55% percent of the world does not live in a democracy. That gives a range of 45% of countries worldwide that exercise a different type of government. These governments include monarchy, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, and many more governments that do not establish the same freedoms as the United States. We observe

Russia, China, North Korea, Afghanistan, and many other countries enforcing these governments in their rule. Prohibition of all opposing parties and ideology, outlawing individual opposition tostate claims, and disregarding people’s rights - giving the government virtually unlimited powerare just a few examples of harsh governments that form others’ quality of life.

However, building upon our country’s freedoms, we have unlimited opportunities to adapt to new suggestions, proposals, and plans for the future. We can publish our ideas to expand our previous knowledge, we can worship in any religion that holds our values, we are permitted to share our thoughts without repercussion, we can assemble in any setting for the exchanging of ideas, and we are allowed to examine questions we have within our government. Each component of our First Amendment creates a circulation of communication, action, and peace that has promoted our country.

We should never forget our freedoms and always rely on them to forge our society. These principles are what make us who we are - who we are as a country, society, government, and people. We should never cease to stray from what we hold close to our hearts regarding the freedoms we enjoy. Our democracy has become one of the greatest to exist because of the rights observed in the first amendment of our constitution.

Aly Spagnuolo 

2nd place

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