The constitution of the United States begins with the very first amendment stating that there shall be no prohibiting or abridging the freedom of speech.
This is an important amendment because it allows citizens of the United States to speak freely about their views on the government, business, religion, and any other topic that deems discussion. The freedom of speech also provides open communication for all Americans so that we can continue respecting one another’s thoughts and ideas.
The moment this freedom is in danger of being reduced, limited, or hindered all together is the moment our constitutional rights as Americans become jeopardized. With this being said, say hello to America’s new game of Jeopardy, with American citizens as the unfortunate players.
Say what you feel…just don’t do it out loud
There are a number of cases that have received major attention, not for the question of limiting free speech, but rather for what was actually said by the individual in question. Take the latest case involving a history professor at Rutgers University, for example. He slammed his own white race on his personal Facebook page and later claimed it was all meant to be satirical.
He was forced to explain his “I quit my race” comment and was asked by his employer to take the post down. He attempted to explain his reason for posting his opinion about his own race, but before he could truly explain himself or change his post, Facebook took the post down without his knowledge.
To make matters worse, Rutgers University stated that they would discipline, and maybe even fire, the professor for what could be considered “hate” speech. Hmmm… Interesting, interesting… What would our forefathers have said about that? How does all of that commotion about his comment fit under his protection as an American citizen under the first amendment?
Speak now or forever hold your peace…matter of fact, just hold your peace
Individuals are finding that if they speak openly about race or religion they will feel the immediate impact of punishment. Countless articles have shared comments from unsuspecting individuals who shared their thoughts on issues of race; only to get reported by someone claiming to be “offended” by the person’s comments later.
CEO’s have been fired for making comments that were offensive to others, and a plethora of individuals have stepped down from high ranking positions for saying things that were considered to be offensive to someone else. If you don’t like someone, you can easily complain that they said something about your race, or even their own, and get them potentially fired.
This is where the “freedom of speech” has gotten in 2018. If you say what you feel you’d better make sure that what you say is something that falls in line with what everyone else feels, as well. If you say what you feel and it offends someone, well… I guess you’d better start looking for a new job immediately. Maybe even a new country.
Reclaiming the right to speak freely
What will it take to reclaim ones right to speak freely in America? This is a powerful question that isn’t that easy to answer. That’s the most unfortunate thing about crossing the line of limitations of any kind. The moment you decide what a person can or cannot say is the moment you will find yourself in danger of taking away something that is within the right of every person who has an opinion.
How can we truly expect to have an honest conversation if we are consistently judging how something makes us feel, rather than the art of the conversation itself? Malcolm X once said, “until we can sit at the table and say what we feel without fear of being politically correct…until we can do that, we will never speak honestly with one another.” It’s time to put our feelings on the shelf and open our mouths to create REAL dialogue. Until then, just close your mouth so that it can match the minds of those who refuse to listen.