Don't tie free speech rights to student loan forgiveness
  1. United States
  2. Ala.
  3. Letter

Don't tie free speech rights to student loan forgiveness

To: Sen. Britt, Rep. Strong, Sen. Tuberville

From: A verified voter in Huntsville, AL

May 7

The right to peacefully protest and express dissent is a cornerstone of our democracy enshrined in the first amendment. Any attempt to chill or penalize free speech rights raise significant constitutional concerns. While protests must remain lawful, punishing students for exercising their rights sets a dangerous precedent that undermines our core values as a nation. Shame on you, Senator Britt, as lawyers, I expect you and Senator Cotton to know better. I can't and don't expect Coach Tommy to know constitutional law if he has to be spoon-fed the branches of American government. Yet, here we are. I urge you to reconsider your vote, support and co-sponsorship of a bill that could infringe on Americans' fundamental liberties and instead work to protect and uphold the First Amendment for all citizens. Denying student debt relief based solely on participating in protests amounts to a modern-day tax on free speech. This both violates constitutional principles and discourages moderate civic engagement from the very people who represent the future of our country. Dissenting voices and the ability to protest injustice have driven positive change throughout history. Restricting these rights jeopardizes our progress as a society as well as removing the safety valve for civil unrest, forcing change through more extreme measures. I encourage you to take a stand in defending the First Amendment rights that make America a beacon of freedom and democracy around the world. Our senators should be reinforcing, not undermining, the constitutional protections that allow an open exchange of views and the peaceful expression of grievances. An engaged, activist young generation should be celebrated, not punished through misguided fascist policies. I urge you to protect students' abilities to have their voices heard on issues they are passionate about, before they make themselves heard at the ballot box.

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