I'm Conservative, but I see this as an issue being divided and addressed wrongly on the outreaches of both party sides, so I thought I would still offer some input here.
The issue is, when these laws were written there was a perceived cognitive understanding, and reader intuition, if you will, that is not wildly recognized in our generation.
We have skewed that amendment through our current world view and culture, and in doing so, lost some depth and understanding of what it was meant to mean.
So let’s break this down a bit...
First let’s look at the actual amendment, as the US constitution does not just plainly say "You have the right to free speech"
Here it is in full:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
First lets start with who or what this law is referring to, so many people get lost or skip right over the first word. “Congress”
Now let’s focus just on the speech part; This amendment is directly saying “Congress cannot make a law abridging the freedom of speech.”
This is solely and entirely an amendment dictating the ability (or lack thereof) of congress to pass laws that restrict or lessen your inherent freedom of speech.
But in regards to what? Well, Now lets side step a bit.
That is part of our Bill or rights, which as you are aware is a list of the first 10 amendments. Now have you ever wondered why they are called amendments? Well, because they are amending something!
The bill of rights (what became our first 10 amendments) was from a list of 12 proposed amendments that were voted on as the 5th articles to the original constitution, (History side note: this was September 25th 1789, and 2 of the 12 clearly didn’t make it)
Well what was the basis of this amendment? Well it was in regards to the original unamended constitution of course.
So what was that speech line in the unamended constitution, that this amendment expanded upon?
Well, there wasn’t one. Instead it was added due to the fact that Article 1 section 8 outlined the powers of congress and made no attempt to limit them in the ways addressed by what became the first amendment.
Here is section 8 in full below. This is what several of the amendments were directly amending. Seriously read it if you are truly wanting perspective here
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;—And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
If you read the above in full, you would now have context to the 1st amendment. You would see that it was an amendment put in place to quite frankly restrict congress from over power and over reach, it stopped the possibility of congress passing laws in order to restrict our free speech that was and is still needed to keep it in check.
This has absolutely nothing to do with 250 years later protecting some dip wanting to spew racist threats on the internet through facebook / 4chan.