Wednesday, October 21, 2009
We the People...and This Here Person
“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.”
I thought it might be well to mention that this site supports free speech. Apparently this kind of statement upsets some folk. I refer anyone upset by the idea that someone supports free speech to the quote at the beginning of this eruption. It is the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States, and it may just be the most important few words in that document.
For anyone who drifts by here who does get upset when they read that this site supports freedom of speech and begins to conjure an assault upon their tender eyes from a sty of vile language, or perverted sexual images, or manic outlines for reaping violence against people, places and things, be assured one will not find such here. This site would be rated PG at worst.
I would say this site would not contain comments or words that are offensive to anyone except it is impossible for anyone to make that claim. There is always someone, somewhere who is offended by the most innocuous statement or interprets a comment wrongly and takes offense. I can’t prevent this from happening anymore than anyone else can, unless I were to say nothing at all and present blank pages to the world, and if that were to be happening, then we would know there is no more freedom of speech.
If I ever write something that offends, I hope you will take the time to examine why it offends you. I can assure it wasn’t intended to offend. Everything expressed on these pages is opinion, and you can agree, disagree or be indifferent to it, but you shouldn’t take it personally. If something does offend, well frankly you have a right to be offended! If you give up your right to be offended, then the rest of us must give up the right to speak freely, and once that happens the rest of our freedoms will also soon be surrendered.
Remember, when you open someone’s site and you read something that truly offends you...you don’t have to go back there anymore! But you should at least consider what the person is saying, should form some ideas why it offended you, should form some ideas of why you disagree, should form some ideas about why you are right in your thinking and they are wrong. And if you are concerned about the reaction of children to any content, for gosh sake discuss it with your children and make it clear to them what is wrong with it.
There use to be a quote: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” This was a paraphrase of a statement written by the Frenchman Voltaire to a M. le Riche: “Monsieur l’Abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.” The truth is once we begin to decide we can put limitations on what can be said, we have destroyed freedom of speech.
I would also say, so what if someone writes a diatribe of invective against a people, a race or a religion? Doesn’t that say more about that speaker then those spoken against? The object must be to cut through the emotional reaction to words and cool them off with logical argument against such ideas. If the ideas expressed are that of my enemy, I would still rather know this is my enemy and this is what she or he thinks, then to have my enemy banned from my view where they are busy planting verbal daggers in my back.
Freedom of speech is our right by the Constitution. It is the way we have to express ideas, good or bad, and place them in open debate. It is the one weapon we all have to protect our other freedoms, and it is the power of such a freedom that makes many groups, and politicians, and others wish to limit speech and dictate what is proper to say. You may hate what someone says, but when someone can speak against you, and you can speak against him or her, then you know for a while you are still free and safe. When you must guard your expressions and avoid certain subjects is when you are in danger.
There is reason to feel in danger today.