By Nick Brothers
Freedom isn’t free, but The Free Weekly is.
With America turning 238 and what not, it’s high time for its citizens to take a moment, grab a plate of bacon and cheese Freedom fries, a fine American lager, and reflect on the good ole red, white and blue and the lives of model Americans.
In all seriousness, being a patriot goes beyond chanting “U-S-A!” and buying $500 in fireworks — as fun as that is. If you’re feeling the patriotism in your veins, there’s something you can do about it. By far the best way to show your patriotism is to help improve your local community through engagement and volunteerism. It could be as small as walking some of the miles and miles of trails in Northwest Arkansas and picking up the trash you see along the way.
In the words of President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Here are just some ways you can help keep “‘Murica,” — especially your local “‘Murica” — healthy while showing your patriotism to your local community.
Yvonne Richardson Center, 240 East Rock Street
Anyone who wants to volunteer or donate are more than welcome. There are some field trips coming up, and the center could use help with getting mentors or leaders. The center could also use help maintaining the center, specifically cleaning and keeping it tidy. “The center gets about 50 campers every day, so it’s always nice to have some help,” said Tenisha Gist, director. “Give the center a call at 444-3461 and just come in and ask how you can help.”
Ranger’s Pantry, 125 W. Mountain Street
Ranger’s Pantry, established in 2010, is a food pantry for pets and pet owners who struggle to afford keeping them at home. According to the pantry’s website, the best way to help out is to donate pet food, make a cash donation and encourage others to support it. If you want, set up a food drive at your Fourth of July party. Donations may be dropped off at any Fayetteville fire station or at the Community Resources Division at 125 W Mountain St.
Fayetteville Animal Shelter, 1640 S. Armstrong
The local animal shelter regularly uses volunteers and it has a biweekly orientation for volunteer training. Some of the ways those interested can help is dog socialization. The shelter needs people to walk the dogs, socialize with them and potentially teach them basic commands. You can also bring dogs to the farmer’s market to help get the pets adopted. If interested, people can also come in and socialize with the cats. There is an application process, and you can get an application at the animal services section at accessfayetteville.com. Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. Orientation is every other Thursday at 5:30 p.m., said Tony Rankin, shelter manager.
Arkansas Air and Military Museum, 4290 S. School Avenue
The Air Museum could use greeter assistance, tour guides, restoration folks, carpentry, paintings, aircraft cleaning, display cleaning, research and help with airplane restoration. Any kind of volunteers are welcome, and all you have to do is walk in to get an application to volunteer.
Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks, 1100 North College Avenue
There are several ways you can serve our nation’s veterans as a volunteer. The VA hospital could use van drivers, information desk workers, office assistants, pharmacy assistants, escort volunteers, book and coffee cart servers, vital signs volunteers, as well as inventory help. Applications can be found at www.fayettevillear.va.gov.
Parks and Recreation, 1455 S. Happy Hollow Road
There are a pretty wide range of opportunities to volunteer with the Parks Department. Organizers are looking for members to join the “Trail Trekkers” for trail cleanups. There are also several ways to aid in general tidiness of the parks and you can set up environmental projects with a group. To see how you can help out, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 479-444-3467.
Meals on Wheels, 945 S. College Avenue
The Fayetteville Senior Activity and Wellness Center could use the help of volunteers in their Meals on Wheels program. All a volunteer has to do is come in, apply and commit to a certain time for delivery.
How to Speak Amurican
Good: Let’s make sure we have a balance of food options for our Fourth of July party.
Better: Are there other food groups besides barbecue, dairy and fried?
Good: Excuse me, I don’t agree with what you’re saying.
Better: I’m sorry, I thought this was America?
Bad: My favorite cheese is Pont l’Evèque.
Good: I only recognize one cheese, and that’s American. Oh, and Velveeta.
Good: I enjoy blues, country and folk music.
Better: My iPod exclusively consists of Toby Keith and Star Spangled Banner covers. (Tears up.)
So, America. Great country or greatest country?
Who would win in a fight? George Washington or Teddy Roosevelt?
Marry, bang, kill? The US Constitution, The Grand Canyon, communism.
- Freedom of speech was established in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution in 1791 along with freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and “the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” It is the first article in the Bill of Rights.
- In 1948, the UN recognized free speech as a human right in article 19 of the International Declaration of Human Rights.
- Protection of speech was first introduced when the Magna Carta was signed in 1215. In 1689, the English Bill of Rights granted freedom of speech in Parliament, and the French established the protection of speech in their “Declarations of the Rights of Man” in 1789.
- In an early argument for free speech, Socrates (in 399 BC) told the jury if he was freed on the condition to never speak his mind, he’d sooner “obey the Gods rather than [them].”
- Since the Bill of Rights were written, the judicial branch has defined what is and isn’t protected under the free speech clause. In 1969 in Brandenburg v. Ohio, the court decided that speech can be restricted if the speaker strives to provoke an “imminent” and “likely” violation of law.
- Libel, slander and defamation are not protected under the freedom of speech.
- In 1633, Galileo Galilei — otherwise known as the “Father of Modern Science” — was brought before the Inquisition for insisting that the sun does not revolve around the earth. His punishment was a lifetime of house arrest — a crime that would have been protected by free speech a century later.
- Hate speech is protected in the US by the First Amendment.
- 70 percent of Americans agreed that people should have the right to free speech, even if their words are highly offensive.
- Obscenity — most often pornography — has posed a problem for judges defining what exactly is “too obscene” to be protected by the First Amendment. In 1973, the Miller test was established after Miller v. California to define obscenity. (a) whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards” would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest. (b) whether the work depicts or describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by the applicable state law. (c) whether the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
- Thanks to Tinker v. Des Moines in 1969, students retain their right to free speech during school hours.
American Music For Your Patriot Ears
1. “Made in America” – Jay-Z and Kanye West
2. “American Music” – Violent Femmes
3. “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right” – Beastie Boys
4. “A More Perfect Union” – Titus Andronicus
5. “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” – Toby Keith