The safeguarding of civil rights and liberties is probably the most critical political value in the American society. The US Bill of Rights through the First Amendment guarantees certain civil rights and freedoms such as freedom of religion, assembly, speech, press, and association. Many people usually use the two terms interchangeably; however, there is a distinct difference; civil rights concern the favorable decisions that the government should make to create a just and fair society for all regardless of race, ethnicity or creed. Civil rights are always linked to the protection of minority groups in the US such as African Americans, Hispanics, as well as women. The idea of safeguarding civil rights is to ensure that the government counterbalances the majority rule that always disadvantages minority groups so that their voice and concerns can be addressed. Conversely, civil liberties affect protections against the actions of a government. The paper examines a speech by House Representative W. Travis Cummings at a town hall meeting in a local community building of the State of Florida that was entirely on civil liberties.
The town hall meeting included various medical professionals, local political leadership as well as the local people of the great State of Florida who met to discuss the progress made so far in the legislation of medical marijuana. The state governments do arrest people found using marijuana, which provokes emotions due to alleged racial bias. The police are almost four folds likely to arrest a black than a white person for using the drug in some states. However, the marijuana law reforms are yet to address the long awaited fight for civil liberties that will enable a person to use marijuana as a medicine. Despite scientific proof that marijuana has medicinal value and can provide great relief for patients who have cancer and AIDs, the US government continues to criminalize marijuana, yet it is less harmful than alcohol. The event concerned civil liberties because it sought to support the legalization of medical marijuana so that people can use the drug freely without facing arrests and charges from the government. For one to better understand the topic on civil rights and liberties, it is important to attend such meetings to get an opportunity to get the concerns of the ordinary people especially during question time after speeches.
Nonetheless, the disturbing aspects of the speech were how precise the drug could only be used for purposes of treatment because that would mean that it would only be found in the hospitals. The concern of the people was that legalizing medical marijuana would not alleviate the problem of racial bias on a crackdown on the users of the drug. The most effective relief for the American people was the unequivocal marijuana legislation that would, if approved, allow people to use the substance freely without any interference from the government.
In conclusion, civil rights and civil liberties are fundamental concerns of every society in the world. Various movements and groups have spent time and resources on pushing their respective governments to guarantee certain civil liberties such as the use of medical marijuana among others. Apparently, it is important to attend meetings whose primary agenda is civil rights and liberties to understand better the mood of the public and what they think their governments should guarantee them.