The freedom of expression clause in the first amendment is probably one of the most important freedoms guaranteed in the American constitution. There are many lessons I have learned from this clause. First, clearly, the freedom of expression clause cannot be compromised by any individual, government, or institution because it is an ‘almost’ God-given right to humanity. Though there may be different views and opinions held by people within a community, no segment of the population should conspire to constrain another person’s or group’s freedom of expression.
This is the same situation realized in the documentary film This Divided State because a section of the population tried to stop another from expressing their views. Though traditionally conservative, the state of Utah should never have attempted to stop Michael Moore from expressing himself in college because this attempt is a contravention of the freedom of expression. Kay Anderson, who offered $25,000 to the UVSC’s student body to withdraw Moore’s invitation to speak at campus, was an attempt to compromise the freedom of expression, and this is why there was so much controversy about the issue. Though the controversy was widespread, the attempt by local community groups and conservatives to compromise the freedom of expression in the state was the start of the controversy. This is just one way of showing that, no matter the context, the freedom of expression can never be compromised.
The second lesson learned from the freedom of expression in the first amendment is that the freedom of speech can never be successfully limited. However, it can be delayed. For instance, whatever aim a given group may intend to achieve by constraining a person’s freedom of speech can never be truly achieved. In the documentary film This Divided State, Moore’s critics never really achieved whatever they intended because Moore’s view was still beamed throughout the country because he made appearances in various campuses across the country, including the University of Southern California and New York University. The views that they intended to prevent the public from hearing got the nation’s attention anyway because if the freedom of speech is constrained, it ends up getting more publicity than it was initially intended to have.
The third lesson learned from the freedom of speech clause from the first amendment is that it initiates progress and dialogue in society. Any attempt at disabling the freedom of speech is a step towards complementing social developments in society because societies progress from controversies and dialogues. For instance, through the attempt to limit the freedom of speech in Utah, the discussion about freedom of speech took center stage. It is also due to this reason that this paper discusses the most fundamental freedom in America (freedom of speech) and the documentary film, this divided state, became very popular, not only in America but in other parts of the world as well. Most issues regarding the freedom of speech were therefore easily debated because the case created a precedent to the implementation of the freedom of expression. Therefore, from this point of view, we see that freedom of expression initiates progress in society. Moore asserted that he intended to “get students excited and create a spark of student involvement”. This is the basis for progress in society.