Freedom of the Press

There’s such a marvelous sunset right now. I wish you could see it, too. No picture will do it justice. No man-made lens could capture the raw beauty, the vivid colors, or the gently fading light across the clouds. It’s been cloudy this afternoon, with one of those long ceiling-like clouds, and as the sun lowered, it lit the whole thing up. It was gold and yellow, then as the sun sank lower it deepened into amber, then into a rich, luscious purple that no paint could recreate, and now that purple has faded and streaked with pink. At the bottom of the ceiling-cloud, where the sky appears, it’s a soft yellow. Against these colors, the bare branches of the leafless trees web. It’s beautiful, eerie, and undoubtedly God-made. Man couldn’t make something so organic, free-flowing, and beautiful.

While I’m staring at this sunset view, I’m thinking about writing about it, because that’s what I do. I write. Words are kind of my thing.

What is writing? It’s stories, right? Stories have always been a way of entertainment, of connection, of sharing – for as long as people have existed. As long as people exist, stories will exist. Some say there’s only a limited number of stories to be told, and while that might be true, it won’t stop new stories.

In our day, books are cheap. I realize that books are actually pricey (I can’t afford 25 dollars for a new book!) But, what I mean by ‘cheap’ is that they are everywhere. Book are easily obtainable. Anyone with access to a word processor and the internet can writer and sell a book. Anyone within a library district has access to hundreds of thousands of books.

In older days, books were hard to make. They were made by hand, painstakingly – each page typed out, one page at a time, one letter at a time, by human hands. In the old, old days, books were handwritten. Imagine writing out your 85,000 novel with perfect penmanship. They didn’t have the luxury of a press to make it for them. They were sewn together and bound by hand. Books were expensive. Not everyone could read; only those that read bought or owned books, and to own a book meant something. It was like living in a mansion in today’s world. If you had a bookcase, wow, you were someone.

And, whether or not more people watch TV than read, books won’t go away. How many TV series or movies have been based on books? Several. People like to read. Stories won’t go away because the majority of society bends toward the visual entertainment. Bookworms will always exist. Someday books will rise again in popularity. Even today, more people are shunning from the TV era. They’ve seen the results in the children who’ve grown up with TV and video games. I believe that gap will grow until we realize TV isn’t the best thing in the world.

And, in this day and age, it shocks me how many people don’t read, or can’t read. I work at a community college. Students come here to do assignments, and I’m blown away by these students who can’t read. They’d blown away that they have to read a whole book. If it’s longer than a twitter post, they don’t want it. They stumble over the words and have to sound out anything longer than five letters. These are the people who will one day run the government, and that terrifies me. (I really want to push for an intelligence exam in order for people to vote. If you’re this dumb, no vote for you.)

These students take advantage of the luxury they have. They could read, but they feel no reason to. They feel only their entitlement, which to them means the world should bend to them. They want it all, but do not want to reach for it. They want it all, they want it now, and they don’t understand why they don’t get it.

We sometimes take advantage that we can write and publish whatever we want. I can write an entire novel that poses a tyrannical government as the bad guy; I cannot be persecuted for it. Sure, I can get smack for it from people, but that’s all they can do.

The Constitution given Freedom of the Press is an important and overlooked right. In other countries, you can’t write a story that criticizes a government, a person, or have a person that resembles a real person. You might “go away.”

I know that our current political…being isn’t the ideal American dream, but remember that we can speak out. We can stand up in protest without being arrested, shot at, or jailed. We have the right to protest. America is a country for the people, by the people, of the people. Write and write well!

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