Got Rights?

We have been studying situational use of the constitution in Government class. I have especially enjoyed this focus because it has become something very controversial in our lives as newly active citizens. Even if we don’t watch the news on television or read the paper, information always has its way of reaching our generation through social media and technology. However, this becomes a problem when the main focus is on the event and resulting emotions. Instead, we should be focusing our efforts towards a resolution and evidence to back up our argument. It may be shocking to some when they read the fine print of American constitutional rights. The best place to find these answers and evidence is in the document standing as the basis for the laws and rights of our country; the Constitution.

I remember less than one month ago coming home from school and logging into my personal twitter account. The first tweet that showed up was a retweet from a popular comedian’s account saying “Young genius invents racist idiot detector. #IStandWithAhmed.” Immediately it caught my attention, mainly due to the phrase ‘racist idiot’ and the popular hashtag. As I read through the different opinions online, I noticed a pattern throughout all of them. These tweets had no information to back up their argument besides “better safe than sorry” contrary to “if he was white this wouldn’t have happened.” This controversy seemed to be the topic for a few days, but quickly died down. As much as I wish I could say I knew what happened, I did not until I began writing about it recently. Ultimately, the charges against Ahmed were dropped, but the controversy did not end there. Although scday3bthis case did not make it to a federal level, civil law in Texas states that “A child many not be left unattended in a juvenile processing office and is entitled to be accompanied by the child’s parent, guardian, or other custodian or by the child’s attorney.” (Section 52.025) Thus, no case could be filed against the adolescent being that because they denied his rights, and he is no longer accountable for the supposed ‘crime’ he committed. I believe it is safe to make the assumption that most people who knew about the case presently do not know what became of it. Many expressed their opinion, whether they thought the situation was right or wrong, but not many made the effort to find an answer within written law materials.

Without compromises, the world would be more chaotic than we could imagine. If we are given full freedom, we have no safety or protection from the government. If we are given no freedom and total government power, we become overwhelmingly oppressed people. When we make compromises, give up a little freedom in exchangeobama-ahmed for partial government protection, the balance creates a functioning society. However, it has become instinctive for conflict to arise even in the most ideal scenarios. While most people envision a perfect society being without any conflict, we forget that conflict is what helps us grow. In Ahmed’s case, many opportunities arose after his ‘arrest.’ The president invited him to the White House, tech companies and famous entrepreneurs are offering Ahmed future jobs and opportunities.

Although the experience was surely traumatic for the young student, it will greatly affect his future in unexpectedly positive ways. Social media helped publicize the controversy, but the next step our generation must take is finding these resolutions in the constitution and state civil laws. Through the exercises in our Constitutional research project, I learned strategies of finding evidence to back up a stance on an issue in the Constitution. My opinion was altered on certain issues, finding out unbiased Law from our founding fathers.

Kristin C.

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About SaintsGOV16
We are students in Dr. Ostroff's sections of U.S. Government at All Saints' Episcopal School in Fort Worth, Texas. (www.aseschool.org).

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