Free Speech Under Attack
by Brenda Z. Page on January 7, 2010 at 11:12 AM
A friend of mine sent me a copy of a Facebook interchange many weeks ago that at once was both disturbing and illuminating. Disturbing, because it was a very crass response by a liberal Democrat to a rather non-provoking post. Illuminating, because the post and response so succinctly embodied the persecution that fair-minded Americans are under today. The persecution is shocking, because the zealous rebuke often comes from people you thought of as friends. And, it is insidious because it is becoming both accepted and prevalent in our society.
People have become afraid to share their opinions. Last night we had some friends over and one woman who works in a predominantly Democratic workplace stated that she keeps her political and worldview opinions to herself. She did not use the word persecution, but she was clearly afraid of just that.
It has even become acceptable to use the media to persecute.
“I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.”
- Barack Obama
Extreme liberal zealotry is a direct attack on our freedom of speech, the First Amendment to our Constitution, and the underpinnings of democracy. Freedom of speech was so important to our nation’s success that this founding principle has survived since our beginnings.
Today we arrive at a critical juncture. Free speech is under tremendous attack, and our country is devolving into one of passive non-resistance to this attack. We are told we are “racist” for not agreeing with rhetoric which does not make sense. No one wants to be thought racist, so we are silenced. If we say something mildly conservative, angry legions are waiting to pounce, rip out our jugular, and call us idiots or worse… and so we are silenced.
It begins this way. It ends with mass graves in our backyard.
"How fortunate for leaders that men do not think."
- Adolf Hitler
Hopelessness breeds the environment for intolerance, and zealotry is one of its symptoms. It rages like a fire box that we have incarcerated ourselves into – fed by anger that the politically correct vision we’ve held for the last 20 years does not work. Anger at the truth. Anger, like a temper tantrum that is quick and furious.
We have a responsibility to speak the truth, and, in this country we have a moral duty to fight for free speech.
“Pacifism is a gift to all tyrants because it has a tendency to make a man the quiet subject of any and every Government which is set over him.”
- Thomas Paine, circa 1770
So how do we deal with this windstorm of intolerance?
- We continue to speak the truth. We must not be silent, and we cannot back down. We must speak out. We must shout it from the mountaintop.
- We do not engage the zealots in anger. Anger leads to detrimental action. It furthers us from our resolve to behave in an intelligent, rational manner. It polarizes and doesn’t invite change. It invites repression.
- We must ask questions. Ask those who are intolerant why they believe what they do. Help them discover the truth.
- We must look for and support the right leaders. We must think for ourselves. We must be diligent about whom we choose to support; we must not be misled by catchy advertisements or become lax in our civic duties. Vote and volunteer at the polls (as poll judge, alternate poll judge, worker, poll-watcher). We the people deserve who we vote for, so we must do our research. A vote for the right person is a vote for the Constitutional right of free speech.