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 Calan Ibrahim 

The First Amendment is the first because it is the most important. Freedom of expression is the acclaimed American ideal that separates us from the uncivilized countries of this world such as Canada. It brings passionate civil discourse, a dialogue necessary to fostering innovation and new ways of thinking, and a third thing.  This is why, in celebration of freedom of speech, we must bring back the campus preacher. But who is the campus preacher? 

Around early October of last year a man came to preach his fervent— completely compatible with the 21st-century—beliefs on the spine. Aided by his megaphone, burning passion, and a bit too much free time; A circle formed around him at the truly rare site. A dialogue ensued, and everyone who was there knows that said dialogue between him and his student audience was incredibly inclusive and captivating. It was so inclusive and captivating that two police officers even joined the crowd to watch (which is monumental because since 2020 everyone agreed that cops were all racist pigs that served no purpose in the greater fight for inclusivity). Tangent aside, I don’t want this to be some lame fucking kumbaya circle the second time around. No, what we need to do is to crank the conversation up a notch. 

While the campus preacher came very prepared last time, with his bible, oversized shirt, and Paul Blart shades at hand; There was only one microphone present, and people dispersed in the crowd recording on their phones! This made the discussion very limiting in some aspects, mainly in the area of adequate sound and video coverage. This is not acceptable. Considering the state of American political discourse today, there are many improvements that can be implemented in order to make this conversation more fulfilling for the greater good of democracy. 

What needs to be done is that we need to find suitable grounds to host the discussion, hire BSSL to set up sound, get local news stations for video coverage, and get the mayor to cut a ribbon because once we get this event the proper treatment it needs it will put the hippy-dippy circlejerk from last October to shame. Ultimately, this will make the engagement on social media so much stronger. Which is the only thing that matters. If people have an ample supply of high-quality digital media to pull from the conversations can be a lot more substantive and inclusive which is more indicative of the spirit that the last discussion could not quite reach before.

Due to the abhorrent circumstances, it was hard to capture the wide array of diverse faces disrespecting the guy to his face. It was so diverse, in fact, that it would have given the Hollywood casters and Kathleen Kennedy a run for their money. As we all know, diverse representation, regardless of the circumstances, makes anything better so all I know is if we can make this event equivalent to the live aid of public bashings in terms of video and audio presentation, this would cement this as a monumental event in the history of Binghamton University and quite possibly Europe as we know it. There will be epic songs written of this day, boring museum audio tours with uncomfortable headphones that barely fit, and potentially another Kevin James/Adam Sandler movie that will be another box office flop.

Elon Musk said that social media is the new town square for political discourse, or something like that, and because he smoked weed with Joe Rogan that one time it makes this statement even more valid. As we all know from watching the news these days, democracy isn’t about finding common ground. No one in their right MIND would think that for a functioning democratic society to properly exist it would require its citizens to think on some level beyond their own tangible needs and consider other possible circumstances in a country of 350 million plus. 

It’s about shouting at others, posting the sensational reactions on social media, and using buzzwords to make an argument like SUNY schools dump heaps of scrap metal on their campuses and call it “modern art”. We cannot follow the lines between the tiles by Bartle to find common ground. No, we must FOLLOW each other to increase our profile engagement because that is good for our self-esteems. I am nothing without the validation I receive from the notifications on my phone so this is what will turn America around and make it the peaceful utopia we all hope for. 

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