Understand your First Amendment Privileges

In light of recent events in the Wisconsin legislative branch, it’s important to review the fine line between the terms “right” and “privilege.”

Opinion Editor Kellen Olshefski

This is something that should have been addressed when protests first erupted in Madison. However, with limited space in the Royal Purple, I finally have an opportunity to bring it to the foreground.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary online defines right as “the power or privilege to which one is justly entitled.”

The right to peaceably assemble has become a major topic in Wisconsin over the past month.  However, some might need a reminder of how much of a privilege our First Amendment right is.

While the majority of protesters in Madison have taken the time to read and understand Gov. Scott Walker’s bill, there have been protesters who appear clueless or indifferent on the subject.

There have been protesters carrying signs stating “Stop Dolphin Rape” and high school students who are protesting because their teachers told them a bad man was doing bad things and they should show up since they were out of school for the day.

Now, perhaps there is something more to this select group of protesters I simply cannot understand. Regardless, they cast a shadow over the protesters who have done their research.

It is expected that every bushel has a few rotten apples.  However, all it takes is one to spoil your appetite.

These protesters are making a mockery of the First Amendment and are taking our freedoms for granted.

Many will argue it is their constitutional right to be there and they wouldn’t be wrong.

However, we are privileged to have those rights in the first place  and if you remember anything from your childhood, parents are not afraid of taking away privileges when you get unruly.

As Americans, we are privileged to live under a government that respects and honors that right.

There are countries in this world that would shoot protesters on sight regardless of whether it’s in their basic rights.

I must stress this is not a generalized claim against every protester in Madison. I understand many protesters have done their research and can support their stance well.

Regardless of how our thoughts on the bill differ, I can respect their argument for or against because they have examined both sides of the issue.

These are the protesters who understand how privileged they truly are to have the right to peaceably assemble.