My generation’s greatest threat to civil liberties is the attack on freedom of the press by the current government administration. In the past year, President Donald Trump has labeled nearly anything that portrays him or his policies negatively as “fake news”. In fact, in 2016, he tweeted about fake news and fake media 174 times, an average of once every two days. Very recently, he kicked a CNN news reporter out of the Oval office for pressing him on racism.
On January 8th, he planned to unveil “fake news awards” to the most ‘egregious’ news sources. In doing so, Trump diminishes the press’s credibility to the public and infringes on the first amendment right to freedom of the press. Without a credible press in the eyes of many Americans, the government’s power is left unchecked- How can Americans view global warming as a real issue when the President of the United States calls several scientific studies fake? How can someone protest Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election when he deems investigations “political witch hunts”? As this behavior continues, voters may look past scrutiny and vote for Trump again in the 2020 election. Four more years of racist and sexist remarks, dangerous foreign policy, and environmental degradation will have long-term consequences. My generation could be at the front end of rising income inequality, rising temperatures, decreasing global presence, and continued restrictions on other civil liberties. What gives me hope is my generation’s increased political activism and awareness of the impact of Trump’s policies that would stifle free speech covered under the first amendment. Several studies indicate that millennials are civically engaged at all-time high rates.
We organize social movements, volunteer in our communities, and protest unjust government policies. With our keen use of social media, we have the ability to quickly organize protests and spread our beliefs- and we successfully have. In January 2017, one young woman’s facebook post sparked a 10,000-person Women’s March in Washington addressing women’s rights as well as LGBTQ, racial, and religious discrimination in the face of the new presidency. This overnight movement spread to cities across the nation and continues to spread with momentum. Similarly, in protest of the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality, millennials and other social media users spread #breaktheinternet and sent countless messages to their congressman. In short, millennials are utilizing social media and taking viable routes to make real change.
We are upholding our own liberties of freedom of speech and assembly, and are also seeking to protect others’. This gives me great hope for the future because in a few years, many younger millennials will be of voting age. We will use our passion to vote and further oppose infringements on the civil liberties by leaders like Trump.