Tag Archives: Freedom of Speech

Why Aren’t More Black People Boycotting the NFL?

“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity” – Albert Einstein

I really love football and here’s why:

Reason #1 – My Brother

When I was a kid, my brother only kind of liked me as his sister (as many other older brother and younger sister sibling relationships) and for me, I could get his attention… paying attention to Football. He taught me the game which is why as a woman, I know more than the average man, usually.  He was practicing to be the coach he is now, explaining to me the different positions and the purpose that they serve, why some coaches prefer 3-4 defense over a 4-3 defense, among the many other reasons why I love to watch the game.

Reason #2 – My Grandma

I never was much for dresses, make-up or girly things like my grandma, and she somehow was all of those things, but also fell in love with the game of football. She always wanted to talk about Football my whole life.  As my grandmother became sicker with cancer, Football was about all she would talk about with any kind of joy (and she loved the Browns, go figure). One of the last pictures of her smiling was when she was in the hospital and the Browns paid the patients a visit. (Yes, there are people who actually get excited about the Browns).

My Grandma passed away in 2016, and for last year’s football season (2016-17), I watched more football in a season than I have ever watched in my entire life. Looking back on it, I definitely felt somehow closer to my Grandma watching all things football, and thoroughly enjoyed it. What I find interesting is that many fans truly believe football play has weakened and it has, but it’s still so fun to watch. Unlike Baseball and Hockey, where I have to be there to truly enjoy, Football still reigns supreme as the best sporting event that you can watch on TV, and the in game experience is like none other. I should probably go to a Soccer game in Europe, but until that happens, this is my firm belief.

So enter this year’s opportunity to boycott the NFL. I made the case about why Football is so important to me. I am not the protesting type, because I usually see all the sides of an argument. I can be empathetic to a fault. Ask my friends when we talk about boy problems. I can always see it from the guy’s perspective and rationalize their stupidity. So all summer, I thought long and hard if I wasn’t going to watch Football. It started off with me not watching the draft, but that’s was by accident, but it probably was a tale tale sign. So I didn’t pay attention to training camps or preseason game talk, but I hadn’t made up my mind. When Colin Kaepernick got cut that was no surprise, based on the coach they hired, but when he started to get passed over for backup job after backup job, I really started to feel uneasy.

For those of you who know athletes who aren’t famous stars, you realize a number of players on teams that never play much or at all, they are on team rosters and get a paycheck! In Football, with the quarterback position, a couple of back-ups are a must. Ask my beloved Colts when Peyton Manning was out for a whole year. Teams need quarterbacks that rarely play and Kaep made it to the Super Bowl folks, and his numbers last year weren’t the worst in the league, actually not that close either. The uneasiness got stronger, and I didn’t know how I was NOT going to boycott the NFL.

There comes a point in life where you should realize that what you believe in and what you do about it matters. BECAUSE I love football and the NFL, it makes me more disappointed that NFL owners are unwilling to give a job to a person who was simply exercising his freedom of speech rights. Here’s the thing, I get that they don’t care. It’s a business. He’s hurting their pocket book. They don’t care about the elevation of thoughts and ideas, especially not this one. But I do. 

Colin Kaepernick wanted to highlight a very important issue, one that should matter to all people, but the fact that it doesn’t is actually irrelevant. If it were a different issue such as pro-life, pro-choice, the environment, 2nd amendment rights or if it was any issue that took dollars from their pockets, NFL owners would be uninterested as well. But there is nothing more American than our right to be free. Free to say what we want, live the way we want, believe what we want. This “American” game of Football is asking us to choose money over our hearts and minds.

So when I see black people unwilling to boycott Football for something they “care” about, because the players need to boycott first? Say what? Only with their boycott would something actually happen. Come again? How easy is it to sit back, and just take Football in as entertainment without any regard to what it’s saying about you and your black body. How many of us would lose our job from boycotting a football game? 

 We can keep lying to ourselves, but the NFL is saying to us, “We” are good for the football field, but not good enough to speak our mind. You are not only condoning Colin Kaepernick not getting a job, you are condoning the ability of the institution of Football in keeping us small minded, and similar to a slave.  Actually, not a slave at all, a black person watching a minstrel show. Yes, a MINSTREL SHOW.  Your body is free, but your mind is still enslaved. The black NFL players are the main characters in the show, and you are literally rooting them on.  Just maybe if we stopped watching, some would stop playing. The truth is we don’t believe not watching will have an effect, but why are we so unwilling to try.

In the end, who’s making the money?  The same people that made money on the minstrel shows. You go right ahead, and not boycott, and continue to watch irregardless of what the game is saying about us.  One of my favorite reminders from the good ole book:

“My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? (2Kings 5:13)

If we cannot skip a season of football, do we really believe we will give up more for justice? for black lives? for equality?

No matter how much I love Football.  I will no longer watch the minstrel show.

M/P

Check out from Max Kellerman:

https://twitter.com/shadowleaguetsl/status/908721297215119360  

The Reality of Truth In America: A Story About Donald Trump and N.W.A.

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“In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.” –Albert Einstein


What I am about to say may seem a little outlandish. You might think that I am a little crazy. But like the Black Eye Peas, “I got a Feeling”.  There’s this movie out, I don’t know if you heard of it … “Straight Outta of Compton.” And then there’s this actor running for President – Yes, I am referring to Donald Trump. And I see a connection, a similarity… in who they were, and who he is now, and why we just can’t get enough.

Americans, and others, love “the truth”. Straight talking in your face, not caring about the consequences.

* enters N.W.A. and Donald Trump hand in hand*

We loved/love them for their honesty, their bluntness but yet, they have/had their fair share of haters. There are people who disagree with their honesty, and then there are others who would just like them to “tone” it down a bit. But what they both have in common is their comments, lyircs or words about women that are derogatory. Yes… I am taking it there, but hear me out, this is not what it seems.

Filmaker Ava Duvernay expressed her feelings about hip hop so eloquently in 140 characters.

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When you think of N.W.A and other Rap/Hip-Hop artists, as a woman, you can’t help but cringe at some of the lyrics. The honesty that they bring comes with an asterisk when it comes to women for a lot of people. When asked about their lyrics in response to say “F*ck the Police”, they explain that they are exercising their 1st Amendment right and shout from the hilltops that political correctness takes away from the stories they are telling about what’s going on in their communities. But in terms of women, what is the explanation for that? We have the right to talk about women any way we want. Well, that’s what they did and artists still do today.And Donald Trump, in 2015, still going at it strongly dissing women when he can.

Now, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube have kind of changed their tune, and don’t say degrading things about women for the most part (to be discussed later).  And to be honest, now, most people equate Ice Cube to a family actor who is always playing the sensible guy. I mean have you seen Ride Along.  And let’s not forget Dr. Dre’s physically abusive nature towards women from his past. Now, the members of N.W. A. are all grown up and might not talk or do what they used to, but we have new rappers who follow in their footsteps. We see time and time again, that people have no problem saying demeaning things to just about anybody, and we eat it up like cake as long as it’s not about us or offending us.

So here’s the question: Can we handle the truth, and if it is someone else’s truth, should we “handle” it ? Does being in the spotlight have any effect on what you are free to say? Do we really believe in Freedom of Speech as a Nation, and should we?

So I went on a little research expedition about Donald’s inappropriate language, I’m refraining from posting any of that garbage on my site, but here’s at least one link that identifies a few of his comments

Now, some of the comments in the article aren’t that bad, some of them are disgusting. Implying that Megyn Kelly was menstruating  i.e. she was emotional is equivalent to Hilary crying back in the 2008’s primary election. People said this happened cause she’s a woman. Really? Now my friends, those examples aren’t shit. It’s offensive, yes, but let’s not get distracted. Donald’s is offensive when he refers to women sexually or inappropriately but everything people are up in arms about isn’t offensive.  But the reality,  he’s running for President. So is he offensive, because he’s running for President, or because he’s just offensive. One of his supporters, now former, said it best at the end of the above article, “I wouldn’t want my daughter around him”, but would you really want Bill Clinton? (I’m just saying)

I am not at all condoning Trump’s commentary, look back two weeks ago here, I was pissed at him for talking about John McCain, because it was insensitive and un-American. But in some way American, right? This is my 4th post about Freedom of Speech. So you know, it’s something I care about. When we talk about limits and all that and its purpose, and why we should be thankful for it, you can look there and there for those conversations.

My point today America…. Stop picking and choosing the truth that you want to hear, truth should be all encompassing.  

So you have to take the whole person and their truth, not in parts. Can you love N.W.A. for coming out against the Police and shame them for their lyrics about women? You can but to me, it’s the same as an holier than though anti-gay preacher who hires gay men for sex. Like WHET! But here’s the point. Why do we continue to reward people for the things we like and shame them for the things that we don’t. You either love them for all of who they are, or you don’t. We cannot cherry pick the truth. As much as I or you would want to. If you know me, you know who my favorite actor is, and I watched that Clear Project crap, and cried every night for a week, okay maybe not every night or at all, but I love Tom Cruise, jumping on couches and all. So I guess what I am saying is just own it and stop apologizing, which brings us full circle as to why Trump is winning in the polls, winning in America with  his offensive talking points and language.  Trump isn’t apologizing for what he’s saying. It is HIS truth and he’s OWNING IT. There are not enough people doing just that.

In terms of N.W.A., I am not condoning the vile words or actions of abuse, but you cannot separate them. Those young men were born in situations of abuse where they saw it day in and out against women. When they raised themselves out of that environment, and knew better, they did better. This is not the case for all men. It’s not about whether Dr. Dre has or hasn’t really changed. In his new album, Compton, he might not be as bad, but he doesn’t do any favors for women, as mentioned so eloquently in this article. Even if slight, there are still a couple of hints of mistreatment of women. He could use his position to highlight the difficulty of being a black man, and how we unfortunately use violence against our women and children because of the struggle, but that wouldn’t be his truth. So let’s stop making excuses for him.  And that’s what this is really all about. You can yell and scream, inappropriate and vile, all you want, but the biggest problem is not believing people when they tell us who they are. So like I said, I am all for unabashed truth, even if it hurts, because it’s better knowing than not, but that means the rest of America needs to catch up with the truth that’s being spit right to them.

If what Trump is saying is resonating with so many Americans, what is the real problem, and who is going to fix it. Because if we don’t, Trump is going to be elected and he will have the opportunity to do so. My advice to the other candidates on both sides of the aisle, attack him until your truth is a better solution. Otherwise, his truth will continue to reign, and he happens to live in a country that will allow him to do so. Maybe everyone should take the same approach and exercise their freedom of speech as Trump has.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game, and starting learning how to play.

M/P

Emotional to Irrational – The Winning Logic of Donald Trump

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Where do I start? The land of the brave, and unfortunately free to say and do absolutely whatever comes to mind. If you have been a follower of Missing / Perspective from the beginning, you know that freedom is at the top of my list of reasons that I love America.  Freedom of speech and expression is a rare gem that gives us a true advantage over most countries. Even our 1st world allies do not practice freedom of expression as openly and freely as we do here. However, with this freedom there is “speech” that  I  hear that disgusts me and I often disagree with it especially out of news media’s mouth (i.e. CNN and Fox News).

So now that it is election season, and a new candidate announces daily, I guess it’s time to talk a little politics. I would like to enjoy my summer, and not have to talk about politics with you, but sometimes life isn’t fair. A number of people haved asked me about: Donald John Trump. I find him entertaining, because well, he’s entertaining.  And yes, his comments about Mexicans were offensive and inappropriate for a number of reasons. For one, using absolutes as if every Mexican immigrant is a rapist is inexcusable, and to some extent, the comments could  apply to a segment of every ethnic demographic.  So let’s be clear, what Donald is trying to say, that there are illegal immigrants that come to America that are bad and commit crimes, and we want them to stop coming here. But that’s not WHAT he said. And the angry people in his audience just cheered him on as he said those ridiculous comments.  I wonder were they really listening.  Maybe… but we as Americans are learning to live in absolutes and not discerning the issues.

Politico  tried to explain the angry GOP support last week with their article, “Donald Trump and the Angry GOP)” . They tried to articulate, much better I might add, what Donald Trump and his followers believe:

 “Immigration reform” allies like to say, a land of immigrants. But it is not a land of endless immigration from one culture that is different than ours and in many ways far less successful. Most immigrants from Mexico, no doubt, are good, hardworking people seeking a chance to better their circumstance in America. But they are not Americans. And in the numbers they are coming, the serious concern is that they are not easily assimilated. Other cultures are supposed to augment ours, not replace it”  (Source)  

You might not agree with the whole statement, but it’s true. At some point, we do have to be stricter and prevent others from coming into our country freely. HOWEVER, the way we go about having the conversation is important. I think it’s legitimate to be concerned about illegal immigration. But we cannot forget that we are talking about people. So I am glad that Donald Trump and his people are angry, and there are reasons to be angry, but you can’t just say anything in anger. Being legitimately angry about one fact doesn’t mean your anger gets to be all encompassing. Case and Point: Donald’s comments on John McCain’s hero status.

That’s right folks, Donald had the audacity to talk about John McCain. If you know me, I have a strong affinity for John McCain, if you have read any part of his story as a POW, it’s truly remarkable. One of my highlights of law school (because they are few and far in between) is when we got to perform speeches in trial class, and of course, I performed an excerpt from John McCain’s book. He is a true American, don’t even get me started. Now, that doesn’t mean he is perfect, and that he hasn’t made mistakes, made some REALLY bad decisions (Sarah Palin comes to mind), but never in my life did I think anyone would question his service.

*Enters idiot Donald Trump*

Well, if you missed it, Donald essentially said that John McCain wasn’t a war hero, and he so flippantly stated that “he likes his heroes not to be captured”. Oh really, Donald, don’t we all. I didn’t realize your definition of heroes involved capes and spandex, i.e. the Avengers, because you know in the REAL world there are no super heroes, you cannot help your fate at times. Look at Chris Kyle, a war hero, unfortunately, was  killed by another human. I know it’s unrelated, but my point, is that we are human and can be vulnerable at any point in time, such as your plane being shot down in ENEMY territory. Not to mention, we could compare Trump’s ability to be a hero if he had not deferred 5 times. That’s right folks, this joker who is calling out someone else’s service, had 5 deferments, not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, BUT 5.

Now, maybe if it stopped there, I would be mostly mad at Donald Trump, and I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog post, but the next day when Donald Trump asked if he owes McCain an apology. Of course, he doesn’t. Stand by your words. I think it’s stupid that people ask people to take words back, I get that people say things in the spur of the moment, but if you’re running for President, get it together. But Donald makes an honest and correct point about why he wouldn’t take it back and that he didn’t think it would affect his race, “When I left the room, it was a total standing ovation,” said Trump. “It was wonderful to see. Nobody was insulted”. (source)

And that made me stop think. He’s right. He’s wrong about a lot of things, but not this one.  See Donald Trump has been wanting to run for President since 1988, and in 2015, America is at a place where they want to hear someone say the crazy things they think in their home. Emotional? Yes. Irrational? HELL YES. I actually think there is more to the story that’s not being articulated. See the reality is that John McCain, who has served in Congress since 1982 (before I was even born) needs to have a seat. Since his first campaign, there has been a number of changes in America. I would agree it is probably time for him to retire from public service, and it doesn’t just rest with McCain. I think there are a number of political figures who have outlasted their stay and are unwilling to challenge the status quo. The reality is that people are angry, so angry that they can’t see straight. So there are issues with John McCain, sure, but not about his POW record, but why are we confusing the two? When did we get so emotional? Oh wait, we’ve always been emotional, but we have moved from emotional to irrational.  Well, whenever that day happened, was the day Donald Trump decided that he could capitalize on this anger. So I am not mad at the “the Donald”, I am mad at America for getting us to this point.

So what’s next?

Just when people want to stop paying attention, because the rhetoric such as this is maddening, we cannot. We have to get involved and we cannot give up. We have to be emotional, but rational beings. We must look for the solutions when the emotions are gone, or not be misguided by our emotions. It’s almost as if the country needs a counseling session. So let’s sit down and talk!

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future. – John F. Kennedy

What are your thoughts about Donald Trump? or the field of the candidates? Let’s talk (Comment below)

The Monday Fits: First World Faux Pas All Around

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As the year closes, there a number of different topics that I find bubbling up in my mind. But what I find that happens all too often, are the issues that are most important, where the passion overflows are closer to “first-world problems” than pressing matters. You know the problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that third worlders roll their eyes. These really trivial problems are often seen on Facebook or Twitter, and can be viewed on this website  Here, and the posts kind of look like this,  “I have too much cash in my wallet and it hurts my butt when I sit. #FML #FWP”.

So what topics am I talking about? For one, feminism infiltrates my mind on an everyday basis ( and I write about it too) as I am slowly trying to find a way to conquer the world. More specifically, as a 28 year old, with many friends getting married, having babies, and a divorce here and there, it is difficult not to talk about the social constructs that try to govern my life, and every other female’s every move.  These social constructs cause a room full of professional women in their late 20’s and early 30’s to have intense conversations about marriage, to have or not to have kids, and how it affects our work/home lives. At times, depending on your profession and your regional location, there are certain expectations placed on you either explicitly or implicitly. I find it frustrating as I maneuver through my professional career, and want to decipher and analyze…and there is a but…

When I sit down to write about this, i feel conflicted, as there are so many problems elsewhere, such as #blacklivesmatter, airplanes disappearing, Boko Haram, and Ebola is not quite gone yet, and not to mention there are people fighting for their basic freedoms (click here). Not to mention I had a recent conversation about how Americans’ views on feminism can also be considered a first-world problem.

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Yep, that’s what was said. But as the conversation continued, I slightly understood the point; reaching perfect equality between the sexes is the goal but perfection is unobtainable. Therefore, if we never made another advancement for ourselves, and women were only capable of reaching the heights that have currently been made, there are some pretty awesome people running companies, industries and governments and compared to many other countries that would love to have some our successes and freedoms. However, it is not enough for us (i.e. maternity leave – click here), and it shouldn’t be, but we can’t become too consumed with these type of problems that we don’t take the time out to look at other problems surrounding us. That is why the critique of the people involved in the protests surrounding the #blacklivesmatter still bothers me to this day.  People complain that millennials are not involved and when they are, they criticize their actions. (Of course, there are always bad apples in a bag). If we, Millennials, have the capacity to have an opinion and to take a position, we should stand for what want… but there are so many critics ABOUT everything from every side, criticism is the true cash cow in the country these days.

Let’s review a couple of stories from this week, where a number of people were in arms about something: “‘I Can’t Breathe’ T-Shirts Banned From High School Basketball Tournament” (source) , “Neil DeGrasse Tyson Stands His Ground After Offending Christians On Twitter” (source), and “Hundreds Turn Their Back on de Blasio at NYPD Officer’s Funeral” (source) . Now I am sure, at least ONE of those stories offended almost every one of my readers, but honestly, I am offended that in each situation there was so much push back. In each situation, there is a group of people who feels disrespected, and I completely understand that, but what happened to the first amendment. No seriously, what happened to the First Amendment? I get that critics have the right to speak back, as much as the people who take the original actions, but at times its as if the reaction gets more play than the original action.

In the story of the high schoolers, a girls and boys basketball team wanted to wear the “I Can’t Breathe” shirts, and were not allowed to participate in a tournament unless they agreed to not wear the shirts. All the boy players agreed to not wear the shirts, except one who stood his ground, and the girls squad were not able to field a team, because most of them refused to be told not to wear the shirt! This is exactly what we should be fostering, is young people speaking out. The fact they wanted to shut out these kids voices is a problem. It may be a first-world problem, but the struggles within their communities are definitely not first-world problems, racial inequality should be less amongst an educated nation. But the reality, America with all of it’s first world problems, really does have a few third-world problems in certain areas that need to not go unnoticed: gun violence, wealth inequality… and of course, criminal justice.

“We all know the U.S. criminal justice system is flawed, but few are likely aware of just how bad it is compared to the rest of the world. The International Center for Prison Studies estimates that America imprisons 716 people per 100,000 citizens (of any age). That’s significantly worse than Russia (484 prisoners per 100,000 citizens), China (121) and Iran (284). The only country that incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than we do is North Korea. The U.S. is also the only developed country that executes prisoners – and our death penalty has a serious race problem: 42 percent of those on death row are black, compared to less than 15 percent of the overall population.” (source) 

We definitely have a lot of first world problems that seem trivial, and unimportant in the scheme of things, but we have some major problems that are pretty Third-World in THIS country, let’s not shut out our millennial voices, OR for the simple fact our right to free speech and expression shouldn’t be a problem.

 

There is More Good, Than Bad or Ugly

Words will always retain their power – Alan Moore

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I rather enjoy writing social commentary week in and week out, and most of the time, the commentary always seems to sound negative even if the point of the message is steer the general population into positive action. So I was overjoyed to realize that this post was actually going to be a positive critique of today’s society. Plus, the way the news and media portray life at times can also make you feel like we are in dire straights. Well, if you’re a democrat who did not cross the aisle and vote Republican in the 2014 midterms, you may feel that America has reached dire straights after the Republicans took over Congress. After the Iowa Senate seat was taken by a Republican, I saw so many, “The apocalypse is happening” type posts than I have ever… oh, wait, since 2008, when the Republicans had the same reaction, maybe even a little stronger, when the Democrats took the White House, and both chambers of Congress; I mean the results then propelled the Tea Party Movement to what is today because people were so upset. In reality, this is what happens. But it’s not a bad thing. I promise, I have not gone mad.

Just like David Letterman jokingly said in his monologue the day before the election, “Take a look at this: gas under $3 a gallon – under $3 a gallon. Unemployment under 6%, whoever thought? Stock market breaking records every day. No wonder the guy is so unpopular.” (source).  He was referring to Obama. And he’s right, gas and unemployment is down, and the stocks are doing the best since the recession. But if you ask a different American the lack of action involving immigration or the gaffes in foreign policy, they may have a very different opinion of the President. Why all of this makes me so happy, is that even though we disagree so fiercely these days, the election reminded me, to thank God for this freedom. Even though some family members absolutely hated each other on election night, the opportunity to go to the election booth and vote, and then be mad at the results the next day is a freedom we should still cherish.

Because even in 2014, there are so many people who still do not “have the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”; or “the ability to express their thoughts and feelings is just simply not allowed”.

If we look at Eriterea, which is on the horn of Africa, it is the number #1 country on both the Committee to Protect Journalists and Journalist without Borders list as the most censored country. (source). There are no foreign reporters allowed and the media is entirely controlled by the government. And if you’re wondering who is second, it is North Korea, followed by Syria and Iran. In Eriterea, there is no other voice than the government, and this government commits human rights abuses continually, and maybe the abuses are only alleged (which many would find hard to believe), there is no one else to report anything different. Think about that for second, and not just on the national level. Think of injustices in our country that have been uncovered by journalists who were just doing their job or chasing a story. Or imagining always having one side of the story, because that is the only story you get and questioning the story can mean death. Currently, this would mean everyone at FOX would be wiped out! But there are times MSNBC, The Daily Show, Bill Maher have critiqued the White House, they would be banished too.

In Uganda, over the last year, they have passed a few repressive laws in their country that conflict with freedoms. They passed the Public Order Management Act (POMA) which places restrictions on freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. And do you want to know why they did that? It was “in response to increasing challenges from anti-corruption campaigns led by civil society groups and from popular senior party leaders with presidential ambitions”. (Source).

Can you imagine the lack of anti-corruption after the bailout in 2008? Even though the CEOs did not get convicted, and the fines may seem like a drop in the bucket in our country, at least the banks, like JPMorgan Chase were challenged, sued and “reached a $13 billion civil settlement with the Justice Department for its mortgage lending practices”, for corruption. Just imagine after the 2008 bailout, if absolutely nothing happened to the banks, or better yet, the blame wasn’t placed on the banks, but a different truth was given. Imagine if the response by Occupy Wall Street was more violent, and people died from the police, rather than the deaths that were caused by unrelated people who were being mischievous.

Now some people may not be convinced that the freedom of speech is even important in this day and age. But we really should be thankful for the opportunity to speak up. In fact, more people should speak up at times when it is necessary. Even if it doesn’t seem like anyone is listening, the reality is that you still have the option to speak out, and it’s free and doesn’t have consequences, (well, unless you say something racist or homophobic on national television). The reason there are countries that limit speech is to prevent the creation, the creativity, and the self-awareness that comes with developing real opinions; the use of language, words, and vocabulary is so fundamental in our being.

If you look at the atrocious, and tragically correct letter by Willie Lynch, although authentically disputed, this excerpt reigns true to me when you think of slavery:

 “You know language is a peculiar institution. It leads to the heart of a people. The more a foreigner knows about the language of another country the more he is able to move through all levels of that society. Therefore, if the foreigner is an enemy of the country, to the extent that he knows the body of the language, to that extent is the country vulnerable to attack or invasion of a foreign culture. For example, if you take a slave, if you teach him all about your language, he will know all your secrets, and he is then no more a slave, for you can’t fool him any longer, and being a fool is one of the basic ingredients of any incidents to the maintenance of the slavery system.” (source)

Do you see the connection? If you are not able to express yourself freely, to deliberate, and to argue, there is a part of our language, that you are missing; discourse is a part of OUR language. Language IS “the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way”. More pointedly, “it is the system of communication used by a particular community or country”.

Therefore, we should embrace discourse and have more of it. It does ourselves a disservice to not be proud and happy with our freedom of speech, it’s more of a tragedy when we do not use it, because we convince ourselves that nobody cares or is listening. To question is awesome. If you missed it a couple weeks ago, the discourse between Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly is telling of the positive nature of exercising your right to speech, and we don’t see it quite enough. I admire that Jon and Bill, people who have drastically different ideals take the time to argue intelligently (to some that may be up for debate), and it’s not just bickering back and forth as many news shows often deliver to us. (Check out the video: Here)

As I stated in the beginning, we should be thankful for our freedom of speech. Even though the vitriol that is spewed at times can be maddening, and wondering how certain people formulate ideas may be perplexing to the point that thoughts of violence seem like a good idea, but at the end of the day, we still have the freedom to express yourself. So no matter how bad or ugly it gets, there is still more good, because the choice is yours in what you do with your voice… so use it.