What ever happened to the 60s? It was 40 years ago, when Buffalo Springfield first played “For What It’s Worth,” a song in which they sing of “young people speaking their minds.” The Vietnam War was raging outside, and the American youth was fuming with anger. Mass protests were held in every city around the United States, and artists who had everything to lose, spoke their feelings with the utmost confidence. It goes without saying that times certainly have changed. Now, when a mainstream country band makes a simple comment about the president, they are entirely shunned from the media. Consequently, the courage to have an opinion has seemingly disappeared. Despite this fact, I believe in the power of a voice.
Free speech – the staple of American culture – has never been so pathetically ignored in the history of our great nation. Since 2003, thousands of American soldiers have been brutally slaughtered in Iraq, in a war that is internationally recognized as “unjustified.” In addition, hundreds of thousands of American citizens are living on the street with little more than the tattered clothes on their backs. These people are mothers, fathers, children, aunts, and uncles who would give their lives to have a voice and to make a difference. How can you make a difference if you are not alive to do so? This is the time where Americans should be rallying by the millions; however, not one memorable individual comes to mind from the last decade. Rosa Parks, 1955, extraordinarily changed the civil rights movement by simply refusing to give up her seat to a white man. Cesar Chavez, 1962, significantly improved the quality of life of numerous farm workers in America through the art of peaceful protests. These outstanding Americans, alongside numerable others, changed the United States of America and became household names because they did one simple thing: they stood up for what they believed in, and voiced their opinion. From seeing the phenomenal difference they have made in the past, it is truly perplexing to see the complete disregard of such a brilliant right. I believe it is time to resurrect it, and remind the world just how beautiful it is.
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