Ever since CBS News/60 Minutes reported on an Alabama school district requiring a publisher to remove the N-word and replace it with 'slave' in the novel, Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, or they will ban the book, as it was their right to demand such an act; or when I learned that a minister felt that burning the Koran was his right, I have been thinking about freedom of speech.
Oprah has said many times, "count your blessings for having been born in America." She refers to the fact that here, in America, we can be whomever we wish to be, we do not suffer the attrocities that are put upon others in other countries, we have the freedom and the right to speak our mind, good or bad. Our civil rights are recognized and respected.
Some people have gone too far. Do we have the right to burn books, bomb government buildings, fillerbuster on the floor of Congress to the point of possibly closing it down, rewrite classic literature in the name of freedom of speech?
Read Lucy's comment on my last blog posting, Huckleberry Finn does it again. She asked the question, "Why do white people think they are the only "perfect" people on this earth?" when refering to their demonstrations, killings and bombings.
I would like to reword that question and ask, "Why do people do these things in the first place?" We live in a country that gives us the freedom to speak, demonstrate, and argue our opinion, belief, point of view. There is no need to injure or harm another when doing so; the voice will be heard! But to seek violence as the method for being heard? It does not make sense. What it is is bullying.
It is said that if you ignore the bully the bullying will stop. What happens when the bully continues to mame, destroy, create havoc, rob people of their civil rights until he gets his way? We are debating that issue today when deciding how to handle Gadafi who will fight to the death and expects his sons to do the same and to "die on Libyan soil". Gadafi is robbing the citizens of Libya of their civil rights. Should we and other nations ignore the bully? The debate will go in either direction with sound arguments for each side. So be it. We can do that because we have freedom of speech. What we can not do is become violent. We do not have the right.
Do we have the right to speak freely? Yes. Do we have the right to do so with violence? No.