As a newspaper, we take the First Amendment seriously. It protects the freedom of the press, as well as the freedom of speech and religion. While many of us often enjoy those rights on a daily basis, …
As a newspaper, we take the First Amendment seriously. It protects the freedom of the press, as well as the freedom of speech and religion. While many of us often enjoy those rights on a daily basis, we’re less likely to regularly practice another freedom protected under the First Amendment: The right to peaceably assemble.
But in recent weeks, dozens of local residents exercised this freedom, taking to city parks and streets in Powell and Cody to make a public statement for what they believe in, whether they stood silently, spoke out on issues or carried signs.
On Saturday, more than 100 residents gathered at Washington Park for the Stand for Life event, with many signing a pledge to “affirm that the right to life is an inalienable human right.”
On a windy weekend in Cody earlier this month, residents from two separate groups gathered in the same area around the same time. Residents with the Pro-Life March and Rally walked by those who had assembled for the March for a Better America, formerly known as the Women and Allies March.
While those marching certainly did not agree on everything, the fact that the two groups could peacefully protest along the same city streets on the same day was a reminder of how fortunate we are in America. In how many other places would it be possible for local residents to get out and proclaim their views on their president or on abortion, topics which tend to be among the most divisive issues in our country?
That’s not to say this is a utopia, because free speech can be ugly. For instance, when articles about the marches were posted on social media, commenters were quick to make negative and degrading remarks. It’s another example of how incivility is far too rampant online, where people write hateful things they’d never actually say in person.
Yet the First Amendment ensures their right to share such statements. And even when we sharply disagree with one another, we’re thankful for a country that allows us that freedom.
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