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Freedom of Speech

Nov. 9, 1999

Klan's controversial march should be protected by law

The American Knights, the largest organization in the world associated with the Ku Klux Klan, met Saturday to protest the federal government's actions during the Branch Davidian standoff in April 1993.

The protesters were wearing full Klan dress with white hoods and robes. These images bring up a past that America is trying to rectify and put behind it.

The presence of the American Knights was offensive, but the American Knights did have the right to meet in Waco, to dress in their uniforms and to protest the standoff.

The First Amendment states, 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.'

American society is bettered by this freedom of speech. Society, with this right, becomes a forum for free thought and allows people to hear many different perspectives and conscious decisions aided by more diverse information.

The Knights' assembly disturbed hearts and minds, but as a 'peaceable assembly,' it was protected by the amendment.

The American Knights were exercising their rights as American citizens. Although many people disagree with the American Knights and what they represent, their presence this weekend was protected by the same laws that protect all Americans.

Although many are opposed to the American Knights' ideals and the Ku Klux Klan, freedom is important to everyone and is a fundamental part of being American. Differing opinions are all given the opportunity to be voiced. The American Knights had the right to protest the government's actions and people had the right to protest the protest.

People should be thankful for the opportunity to have their own opinion and the chance to voice it, no matter what that opinion happens to be. That is why this is America