Counterpoint 109 – First Amendment
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Counterpoint 109 – First Amendment

>>To keep society free, we must speak. The First Amendment is
fundamental to our freedom and the exercise of it
can make us fully human. But about those who feel
limited by not having total control over their
speech, religious beliefs, freedom of press, petitioning, and the freedom to peaceably assemble? Get it together people. You’re an American, which means that the First
Amendment is yours, so use it. Get ready for the Wabash
Democracy and Discourse Initiative on CounterPoint with Garrard McClendon. (slow jazz music) Thank you for joining us on CounterPoint. Hey, give me a call at 844-777-9311. Tweet me at garrardmc, and send Facebook comments
to CounterPointGarrard. Joining me at the CounterPoint,
Professor of Rhetoric and Director of the Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse
Initiative, Dr. Sara Drury, student Democracy Fellows, Michael Lumpkin and Anthony Douglas. Welcome to the CounterPoint you guys.>>Well, thanks Garrard.
>>Thank you.>>Oh man, I so appreciate
all of you being here, Anthony, Michael, Dr. Drury. This is exciting to me for more reasons than we’ll
get into a little bit later. But first let me start
with you, Dr. Drury. You’re at Wabash College, you’re a professor, all male institution. First of all, I gotta hear your story. How do you end up at Wabash College?>>Well, so I’m an Assistant
Professor of Rhetoric at Wabash and the first
part of the story is that when you’re applying for jobs, you’re looking at different colleges, and for me, I was looking for
a small liberal arts college. I was looking for a place
where I could work closely with undergraduate students,
involve them in my research. And I was also looking
for a place where I could bring together the rhetorical
theories that I study and think about putting
those into practice. And when the job at Wabash came up, and this is a true story, my advisor called me and he said, “This is the type of
school you wanna be at.”>>Wow.>>”You need to apply for this job.” And I said, “Well, I was
already applying for it.” But I was lucky enough then to go through the interview process and it was a fit on both sides, I think. They’re really passionate
about taking what we do in the classroom, and transforming it into applied practice.>>You know, it’s
definitely a different type of institution. It’s not 30 or 40 thousand students there. There are no ladies
there in the classroom.>>It’s true.>>So, it’s a little bit
different experience. I’m gonna go to Anthony next. Anthony, how do you end
up at Wabash College, man? Anthony you could have gone anywhere. You’re a scholar. You could have gone to
Notre Dame, Stanford, Ivy League, why Wabash College? How do you end up there, Anthony?>>Well, honestly it attests
to the alumni network at Wabash College. I had a friend of mine,
also a friend of my father’s who reached out to me and said, “Wabash College is an amazing school, “and you at least need to
apply and check it out.” And through all the schools I applied to, I applied to probably ten different schools, and came on a visit. It felt like home. And the financial aid
was really helped me out. Wabash really does a good job of making it financially
possible for students to attend there and I
got there and I loved it.>>Yeah, yeah, Anthony
Douglas, thank you for that. Michael Lumpkin, Wabash
College, man, you know, private, all male,
liberal arts institution, in the middle of Crawfordsville, Indiana. How does Michael Lumpkin
end up at Wabash College?>>Yes, well being an
Indiana native for myself, I’d always heard of Wabash. Being in Indiana, you’re always around those that are from Wabash are successful in your community. The community I’m from Muncie, Indiana. We had a lot of successful Wabash guys. We still do that make up
the workforce in Muncie. And for me, you know, what Anthony said with regards to it feeling like home, really hits with regard
to my experience as well. With going, you meet professors and you sit in on a class and you really feel as if, you as an invidual, you are one the professors
really care about and the professors genuinely concerned with your success and your well-being. And that’s not just something
you find on every campus and something that you really
can’t take for granted. And that is absolutely rang true so far in my first couple years at Wabash.>>You know, Wabash, it’s
definitely a unique experience. A lot of larger institutions,
you’re not even taught by a PhD, you’re taught by a T.A. You’re taught by someone who may be finishing up their Masters. But at Wabash College,
you’re getting taught by some of the finest
scholars in the world right there in central Indiana. Can speaking create a free society? Now, I have to ask the professor this and then I’ll defer to the gentlemen. You know, what makes speech a creation of a free society? Is it possible, Dr. Drury?>>It’s the exchange of ideas that without speech, we don’t have the rigorous
discussion of ideas. And ideas don’t, the best ideas don’t come to us fully formed, they emerge through rigorous conversation, through questioning, through debate, through discussion, and
then we get to, right, how can our society move forward? How can we better ourselves,
how can we progress, and find the best solutions for problems that are facing us? All at the heart of that is speech. And free speech is important to that because you have to get the full marketplace of
ideas out on the table and start weighing them and
thinking about different options in order to get to that best idea.>>You know, Michael, let’s
talk about some of the courses you’ve had and talk about
the leadership of Dr. Drury. Can speech create a free society? Do you know more now than you did before you came to Wabash
College as it pertains to speech?>>Oh, absolutely yes. I’m looking at Dr. Drury as my, the leader of this initiative, as well as someone I’ve had in class, so having that experience on both ends, I’ve learned an incredibly larger amount of just your voice as your tool, to exchange these ideas, to allow for you to express your beliefs. What we provide, and this will
come up later in the show, I imagine, is a platform for that. For us to allow people to use their voice and to discuss their ideas, because, yes, that is what
creates a free society. You’re able to use what you have, your voice, your ideas,
your beliefs, your values. Bring all those to the table,
and really express those and have them heard. And that’s what I think creates freedom and what allows us to really
live in a way we love to live.>>Thank you for mentioning that, because I’m gonna go to Anthony next. Anthony, we’re in the United
States of America, Anthony, and people still feel powerless? It’s sad to see that some people feel as if they have no voice and with the Initiative, I think that you’re seeing that. Do people feel powerless, Anthony?>>I think oftentimes, people do have that sense of
their voice doesn’t matter. I think the work that we
do with the Initiative helps empower people and makes them feel that their voice means something. A lot of times in the
conversations we’ve had, there may be an unpopular view but through our work we validate that unpopular view by telling everyone
that their voice matters and that we should consider the benefits and trade offs to what they’re saying. So I think some of the
work that we’re doing, the conversations that are being had because we have free speech, allows for people to feel
like their voice does matter.>>Voices mattering, Dr. Drury, do poor people really matter? Can rhetoric help poor people? Can rhetoric help powerless people? What good is my voice if I don’t have any money or any power?>>I think you’re
identifying a tough tension in our political society, certainly historically, also obviously in more recent
political discussions today. But I think the United States of America, with the protection of free
speech for all citizens, we have a rich history of lower socioeconomic classes being able to use speech to discuss new ideas, to protest, to bring forth
their critiques, right, of the institutional power
that’s working against them. You can look to things
like the Progressive Era, and this is why for me, studying the history of
speech in the United States is as important as practicing
free and robust speech as I do with the students
in the Initiative. Because we have a history of people in this country, using speech to accomplish
political change. And that’s exciting.>>It’s extremely exciting. The word “rhetoric” and I’ve
gotta close this segment out, please define the word
“rhetoric” for us, doctor.>>Well, I could go with
the Aristotle definition, which is the available
means of persuasion. But I think rhetoric’s
more expansive than that. So, rhetoric is the way that we use verbal and non-verbal symbols to influence, to create meaning, to persuade an audience.>>Wow, wow, and do you think, gentlemen, that you’ve learned more about rhetoric in your classes thus far?>>Without question.>>Yeah, yeah, were gonna get into this more in the second half. I’m excited and we’re gonna
bring on a third student in the next segment as
well so I’m really excited. Dr. Drury I wanna thank you
so much for being with us because, and for bringing
these august gentlemen down to the Lakeshore Public Media studios to discuss this topic. I’m gonna move now to
when was the last time you exercised your First Amendment? Hey, here are some comments from Facebook. Vernell Chase says, “Amen, Garrard, “freedom of speech is a civil right.” Rita Mo says, “Yes, freedom
of speech is very important. “We just need to look around the world. “Even today, citizens of other countries “can be persecuted by their government “if they speak or express
an opposing view.” Raymond Dix says, “It is
with some limitations. “I cannot yell ‘fire’ in a crowded place “when there is no fire. “So yes, we have free speech “but there are limits.” Hey, voice your concerns in We the People and give me a call, leave a message at 844-777-9311. Tweet me at garrardmc and
send Facebook comments to CounterPointGarrard. We’ll be back shortly. (light music) Tweet me, post on Instragram, or send me a message on Facebook. Let’s start the conversation. Your voice is important on CounterPoint. (lively music) Welcome back to CounterPoint. For the second half, we have Wabash Democracy and
Public Discourse Fellows. We’ve got Michael
Lumpkin, Anthony Douglas, and Jack Kellerman. Gentlemen, thanks for staying with me. And it looks like we have
a newbie, Jack Kellerman. Jack, thanks for coming
on CounterPoint, man.>>Thank you for having me.>>Hey, I asked the other
gentlemen this question, how do end at Wabash College, man? You could have chosen any other school.>>Excellent question. For me, it was, I think Anthony touched
upon this, the alumni. All of the alums I’ve met,
anytime I wear a t-shirt, or say, “You know I’m thinkin’
about Wabash College,” when I was going through high school. They always like, “Oh,
you’re thinking about it? “Here’s my business card. “If you ever wanna go to a football game, anything, you have any
questions, talk to me.” And just that care of trying
to make good men better really attracted me to the college. And I’ve seen nothing but
that on campus and off.>>This is good. I wanna move forward with the conversation because when it comes to being young men at an all-male institution, you’ve got choices to do other things in terms of your academics, as well as extracurriculars. So, you’ve got athletics,
you’ve got Glee Club, Pre-med Club, Science Club. Out of all things to do at Wabash College, why be a Democracy Fellow? What’s sexy about that? Talk to me Michael.>>Yeah, I mean, I think that
what the Democracy Fellows has provide us and the
Discourse Initiative as a whole has provided us is the
opportunity as an undergrad to make a difference in the community around you, on your campus,
and then in other places around the United States that we’ve been lucky enough to travel to. I feel like every place we go, we open up new doors, opportunities for people to discuss issues that are very important to them, on a new platform, on a new level and that’s not something that the average undergraduate
gets the opportunity to do. To be able to make a distinct impact on different communities,
to do something larger than yourself, to really
represent the Wabash name, as a whole, off your campus, is something that is to me, to us, I think is sexy about the Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse Initiative.>>Oh man, so we just made, I’m movin’ my shoulders. We just rhetoric sexy. So, I’m gonna ask Anthony Douglas here, Anthony, some of the initiatives
that you’ve done so far first of all, let’s look
at what facilitation is. What does that mean to
facilitate a discussion?>>So, usually at these conversations, you have people with all
types of stakes in the issue and they have concerns. And those concerns sometimes are similar and sometimes they’re different. And so when they come to the conversation typically, these people
have kind of thoughts of what they need, what
should be the solution to their problem. And so, as a facilitator, you take all these concerns
and these stakeholders and you help them consider others’ ideas at the conversation. And at the same time, help
them weigh the benefits and the trade offs of other people’s ideas and their own ideas. And it’s not necessary for
them to come to an agreement, but more of an educated decision on what’s the most feasible solution to our problem right now. So, facilitation is really about, it takes a lot of tact
and working with people and helping them realize,
hey you have a great idea. We need to consider other
people’s ideas at the table and let’s bring these together
to come to a solution.>>If only all of society could do what you gentlemen are doing. So, let’s get right into this. Childcare in Montgomery
County, the Pocket Park, Value Your Voice, and
University of Delaware, Jack Kellerman, which of these initiatives did you work on?>>I worked on the
University of Delaware one, the Pocket Park, as well
as the Value Your Voice.>>Let’s go with Value Your Voice first. What was that and what did you accomplish?>>So, with the Attorney General’s office we kind of took a partnership. And we, together, kind of wanted to get more engagement in the community. So, we identified some
problems in a report we read, and kinda see, all right,
let’s bring it to a community. Let’s see how the millennials think, how they see problems
with civic engagement. How can they become more civic engaged?>>Talk to me, Michael. What initiatives did you work on?>>Similar to Jack, I was on
the Value Your Voice event with the Indiana Attorney
General’s office. I went to University of Delaware. I partnered with their university and then I was one of the members
of the Childcare Forum.>>Talk to me about Childcare
in Montgomery County, what was the impetus of that?>>So, childcare is a complex
issue in Montgomery County. Like, which is a problem
that many smaller, manufacturing type communities face with regards to being able to provide adequate care for individuals
like third shift workers, individuals who don’t make
necessarily the income required to afford quality childcare. And that’s a problem
that Montgomery County had been plagued with
for many, many years. Our goal was to create a dialogue, a situation where individuals, stakeholders, like Anthony
referred to earlier, can come in from anyone from
the manufacturing community to childcare providers
to the school systems. I could go on with many different
people that were involved. Which all gave them the
opportunity to discuss their stake and their side in the issue and how they can then go forward and try to make the situation better.>>This is good because I wanna move to University of Delaware
next with you Anthony. Facilitating, discuss, people don’t talk in a civil
manner anymore, do they? They’re yellin’ and screamin’. Internet is ridiculous. Presidential candidates are ridiculous. Anthony Douglas, University of Delaware, I too am Wabash, you take that initiative to University of Delaware, what happened at the University of Delaware?>>So, a little background. The University of Delaware
was having a lot of issues with just diversity and
race relations on campus. And they really needed a
way to talk about that. They didn’t really didn’t have the medium to have a discussion or the skills to facilitate a discussion. Because sometimes conversations
on race and privilege and diversity can get a little heated. And so, we came, not too
long ago, to that campus and we held a conversation
about race and diversity and what are some steps
of action to address diversity on their campus and how can they increase inclusivity for students of color on their campus. So, we ran that conversation. And students gave us a lot of feedback on how powerful that conversation was and how they wished they
had that kind of medium or way to talk about those
issues on their campus.>>So, you gentlemen, as
well as the other fellows at Wabash College, you’re not coming in and telling people, this
is what you need to do?>>No, no.>>All right, because you’re
wrong and you’re uneducated and you don’t have any money and you need to listen to us because we’re college boys. You’re not coming in there like that?>>So, Jack Kellerman, how do you initiate these conversations, what’s the method?>>Absolutely, so, kind of
Anthony Douglas kinda said this. Facilitator, he’s supposed
to take a neutral stand. He’s supposed to kind
of set the ground rules, to show respect for
other people’s opinions, kind of voice when you have a concern. So we can bring that tension, say, “All right, so why do
you feel this tension?” Kind of weigh the two sides and come to a better consensus. So, you really make sure that everybody’s voice is included. You make sure, if somebody is struggling to voice their opinion, you make sure that the space is open for them to voice their opinion.>>An open space, Michael, is it possible to remain neutral, man?>>Oh absolutely.>>We all have opinions, Michael. Come on man, we all judge people. Is it possible to facilitate
and remain neutral?>>It absolutely is. It’s a skill set, it’s not
something that you have from day one, but through the teaching, through the rhetoric classes at Wabash and through continued practice on facilitation through this organization, we’ve been able to become very skilled at the
art of staying neutral. And it’s just very important to note that we are nothing more than individuals that provide a setting, an open setting, an open space, like you mentioned, to allow people to have these
opportunities to discuss and share ideas freely. And go beyond the surface
level conversations. Really go into deep conversation that can make a difference especially when people are, when things are happening on campuses like University of Delaware that are polarizing, that
are not easy to discuss. That doesn’t mean the
discussions don’t need to be had, but rather that they need
to be had in a setting that we can provide on a platform that allows people to go deeper than with just your surface
level conversations.>>Anthony Douglas, let’s
talk about the actual way in which you facilitate. So, there’s a note-taker
and there’s a facilitator? How does that work?>>Yeah, so typically, we like to have two people at each table, one to note-take and one to facilitate. And usually we have a guide prepared so we do our research on the problem before we get there. And then we make a guide that typically, sometimes
can have solutions in it. And they’re typically broad solutions so people can make of it how they want to. They take that solution, they get the specifics for that solution. Or sometimes it’s a guide that helps them generate their own actions. And so we have that sheet
and that’s kind of a guide for us to walk them
through the conversation, help them consider both
benefits and trade offs to everything that they’re suggesting.>>So, you gentlemen are still undergrad. What year are you Michael?>>Currently finishing
up my sophomore year.>>Sophomore year as well.>>Jack’s a sophomore.>>Junior.>>Anthony’s a junior.>>You gentlemen talk like grown men. I mean, grown, grown men. With this amazing rhetoric
and thought process that just impresses me to no end. Let’s talk about Enduring Questions. Was that a class that you guys had? Enduring question was on masculinity? What’s that about? Somebody wanna jump in?>>Yeah, so a professor came to us and wanted to have a
conversation about masculinity especially at Wabash with
there being a very competitive, single-sex institution. She wanted students to think about how do you define masculinity
in the 21st century? And so those students, well she came to us, she asked
us to put together a guide, to guide the conversation on masculinity and then facilitate that. And so, it really wasn’t
one of those conversations where you needed a solution, but you want guys to think about what does masculinity
mean in the 21st century?>>I like that, I like that. First Year’s Gentleman’s Mind, did anyone have that class as well? Let’s talk about the Gentleman’s Code or the Gentleman’s Rule. Wabash College only has one rule. A lot of universities can’t believe it. They’ve got this long
policy list of rules. Wabash College, you have
to do what, gentlemen? Talk to me, Jack.>>You have to keep
yourself as a gentleman on and off campus at all given times.>>Is that possible? Come on, Michael, to have
a campus where one rule, it seems like the campus
would be in chaos.>>Right, well, I think from day one, I think the Gentleman’s
Rule just encompasses Wabash as a whole. That’s one rule, but it
really provides the basis for what your Wabash
experience is going to be. And it’s going to be
exactly what you make it. And the first thing that governs you as a gentleman of Wabash is
that you act like a gentleman and you behave in a manner
that respects the college, respects yourself, and presents the image that you should as a gentleman of Wabash. This is a great initiative
because it allows us to portray that on a greater level.>>So, you’re not only getting assignments within Indiana, you guys
have gone interstate. University of Delaware
say we need the gentlemen at Wabash College to help us out with this particular crisis. So, what have you learned from being in this Initiative? Let’s start with Anthony.>>The skills I’ve gained
from the Initiative are extremely transferable. I wanna go to medical school one day and I realize from
working in this Initiative that there will always be problems and there will always be a
need for problem solving. Having these skills to sit
people around the table who have different views
and points of views and help them think about
each other’s options, help them think through that problem and eventually lead to a solution that maybe not everyone agrees on but it has everybody’s concerns addressed. I think that’s a huge
skill that can be used whether you’re in the family room, in the business office,
or in the doctor’s office. Jack Kellerman, what have you learned?>>Absolutely, I think with,
since we’re all social beings, we always have disagreements, we have to learn to live together, so with these disagreements, facilitation, those kind of techniques I’ve learned have really given me the tools to kind of equip myself with, in conversing in the fraternity house I live in or within my own household back home, that, if something is disagreeable, why? How do we get through that, how do we come to a better consensus, maybe not an all agreeable solution.>>Yeah, I’m loving this. I’ve got just a few seconds. Michael Lumpkin, what have you learned from being in the Initiative?>>I’ve learned great leadership skills and the ability to lead a
conversation effectively and just help out problems in communities and make them better and improve the lives of others around me.>>Yeah, yeah, so you’re
gonna be finishing up at Wabash College here
in a year or two years. This is fantastic. I wish you three gentlemen the best. Tell the rest of the
Fellows at Wabash College that I said hello as well. This is profound and I’m
sure that your Initiative is gonna get a lot more work. There’s a lot of communities that need the help that you guys can offer.>>Thank you.>>You know, Bob Marley said, “Get up, stand up, stand
up for your rights.” So, exercise your freedom of speech and start speaking to keep a free society. Hey, thanks to my guests
from Wabash College, Dr. Sara Drury, Michael Lumpkin, Anthony Douglas, and Jack Kellerman for joining me at the CounterPoint. Give me a call at 844-777-9311. Tweet me at garrardmc,
and comment on Facebook at CounterPointGarrard. As always, stay positive,
keep your head up and always be encouraged to
voice your counter point. Have a great week. (light jazzy music)>>Voiceover: Free speech,
extremely important to be able to share my views and opinions and to also provide a
platform for other people who follow me to share their
views and opinions as well.>>Voiceover: The freedom
of speech is so important. That’s why they put the
First Amendment in there. Shouts out to everybody that grew up in the era of hip-hop.>>Voiceover: I think freedom
of speech also provides a balance when some might feel others have abused that freedom.>>Voiceover: Garrard, this is Waylan man, and I just had to call in on
the topic of freedom of speech. It’s very important for all of us to be able to voice our opinion.>>Voiceover: I believe
freedom of speech is an essential element of any democracy or any civilization. It is the basic fabric of
human existence I believe.>>Voiceover: I think that
free speech allows for the truth to surface and to prevail. Free speech is the safeguard
against the abuse of power.>>Voiceover: Freedom of speech is our most fundamental
constitutional right because every idea starts with speech. Without the idea and without
the freedom of speech to express the idea, then no change will be able to be made because ideas lead to change. And those who are at
the bottom are the ones who need change the most.

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