Today we released the newest edition of The Colt, the student produced newspaper at my high school. The back page had a lengthy analysis of existence from a scientific and theological perspective. There was also a center spread discussing gay rights and how society’s stigma toward homosexuals may be the root cause of gay students being bullied in schools for their sexual orientation. There was a story on Occupy Dallas protesters, how schedule changes will effect extra-curriculars, and lots of other semi-hard-hitting issues. However, our student body didn’t take issue with these articles.
Instead, we had a flood of complaints because of one staffer’s review of the new Coldplay album and one comment on a fashion feature that declared: “Warning: Leggings are not pants.” Many of my staffers were upset with the waves of tweets and Facebook statuses that criticized the issue. A lot of us felt as though this criticism depreciated the value of all the work we put into the publication.
I, however, don’t feel this way about our critics. Voltaire once said, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” And this is how I feel about our student newspaper and the students at my high school altogether.
When I put out a newspaper filled with student voices coming together into one publication, I know that I am helping to not only ensure that we have a right to our voice, but also to encourage students to speak up and have their voices heard. Opinions are a two-way street. You need to have the courage to voice your beliefs just as much as you need to have the freedom to voice them. And so, when I hear these criticism and I read these posts, I’m not even mad. Because I know that I am contributing to a cause that has been passed down through generations and generations or literary warriors who protecting these rights for me. And I am protecting the rights of student journalists for generations upon generations to come.
On this day, the anniversary of the passage of the Bill of Rights, I am glad to celebrate with such a grand display of the freedoms we are endowed. I am not only free to tweet, but free to be tweeted at.
So, I love to read the tweets criticizing my newspaper. Bring’em on. And as far as the girls who have banded together in a vow to all wear leggings as pants to show me how you feel. You go right ahead. Just as I am entitled to my opinion about your crouch outline or your pink underwear showing through your legging-pants, you are entitled to wear them and tweet about them and tell the world how you feel about people who try to tell you they are not pants. I applaud you. Because we live in a country where I have a right to say how I feel about pantlessness, and you have a right to assemble peacefully, pants or no pants.