Freedom of speech is one of the core building blocks of the United States as a whole. But it is also equally simple and complicated. In simple terms, freedom of speech says that we do not have to fear either being jailed or killed for just speaking our minds. It gets complicated when it comes to hate speech and incitement. Yelling fire in a crowded movie theater theoretically, could go either way.
The backlash against the riot in Washington D.C. last Wednesday has been swift and furious. Once more, you know who is facing impeachment. He has been banned from most, if not all of the major social media companies. The website Parler, known to attract members of the conservative and alt-right movements, has been shut down entirely.
Is you know who to blame for last Wednesday? Without a doubt. It was his words that encouraged the near destruction of the Capitol Building. That being said, the blame does not entirely fall on him. The blame is on the social media companies. They have been making up their own rules for years, allowing extremists of all sorts to use their platforms to spread their lies and attract new members.
While freedom of speech is immutable, what is not immutable is the actions of the big tech companies. The ball is in their court. They can either proceed as if nothing has happened. Or, they can face up to their part in this mess and help to clean it up. The choice is theirs.
When the Internet and social media took off decades ago, they both seemed to be a beacon of freedom of speech and communication. We would speak to and (virtually) meet people who we might otherwise not meet and become a better world.
But while the technology has changed, the world has not.
While the social media giants claim that they are all for freedom of expression, they continue to ignore the elephant in the room. That elephant is racism and antisemitism that continually flows from various tweets and posts.
Twitter, while claiming that hate speech is not allowed on the platform, does not prevent Iranian officials from threatening Israel with annihilation via tweets.
I wish it was easy to remove ourselves from social media. But, they are so much of a part of lives that to do so would be akin to cutting off a limb. The only solution is that the people who run the social media platforms follow through on their terms of service. The question is, will they?
Antisemitism is a disease. How does one route out a disease from one’s body? You hit with medicine. In this case, the medicine is truth and the power of the average person.
In response to the antisemitic posts appearing on Twitter and Instagram, a boycott has been called on both platforms for 48 hours starting this morning.
There is a distinct line between freedom of speech and spewing hate. Until the people who run the social media world realize this and follow the rules they created, they will be as guilty as the ones who spew racist and antisemitic lies.
I know that this boycott will be difficult. But if we do not move forward with the boycott, the message that racism and antisemitism is acceptable will continue it’s destructive grasp on this world.
If one knows nothing else about the United States, they know that Freedom of Speech is one of the legal and cultural cornerstones of the country. That being said, there are certain limits. For example, yelling fire in a crowded auditorium when there is no fire does not exactly fall in the “freedom of speech” category.
After years of letting you know who run rampant on Twitter, the minds behind the social media platform started to fact check some of you know who’s tweets. His response was to sign an executive order (aka take a tantrum), complaining that his rights were being violated. The tweet being fact checked was his statement that voting by mail would lead to a fraudulent 2020 Presidential election result (i.e. he loses).
This man is a hypocrite. His perspective is “good for me, not for thee”. He can vote by mail, but the home bound senior citizen or the single parent working two jobs cannot. He can claim censorship and that his rights are being taken away to anyone who would listen. But the average citizen who also has the same complaint and a Twitter account does not have the same platform as POTUS.
It’s no secret that we have a man child, used car salesman for President. Instead of using his power and his profile to build up this country, he is more concerned with his reputation and his status.
We need to get him out in November. The future of this nation depends on it.
P.S. While he complains, over 100,000 Americans have died from Covid-19. I can’t think of a better reason to vote in the fall.
One of the cornerstones of any legitimate and thriving democracy is the ability to criticize the government without fear of reprisal.
That being said, there is a distinct difference between having the right to openly criticize the government and hate speech.
Representative Ilhan Omar’s (D-Minnesota) comments, in my opinion, can without a doubt be classified as hate speech.
While I agree with her that money from lobbyists urgently needs to be removed from politics, the fact that she once again spread the lies that Israel (aka Jews) are using their money to gain influence is just plain wrong.
Some argue that antisemitism and anti-Israel is one and the same. They are completely different. Antisemitism is hatred of members of the Jewish faith for no other reason than our religion. It is possible to disagree with the actions of the Israeli government and not be labeled antisemitic. But to criticize the actions of the Israeli government simply because it is Israel is antisemitic.
A real democracy has no place for prejudice or hate. A real democracy respects the diversity of the citizens who call this country home.
Do I accept her apology? I don’t know. But I do know that I am reminded that antisemitism is still very real and very dangerous.
P.S. Am I the only one who is disturbed by you know who’s hypocrisy in demanding that Representative Omar resign?
If a book is a treasure, then the public library is a temple with countless and priceless treasures.
Paul Dorr is a Christian activist from Iowa. Displeased with a local Pride event last week, he burned several library books that belonged to the Orange City Public Library. The books were burned because they encouraged the reader to see beyond the stereotypes of the LGBTQ community.
While freedom of speech guarantees that Mr. Dorr can say what he likes without fear of repercussion, he cannot just burn books just because he disagrees with the subject matter. Especially books that are not his.
History has taught us that when books are burned, bodies come soon after.
It’s one thing to disagree with the subject of a book, it’s another thing to destroy it because it does not fit in with your personal beliefs.
As children, many of us learned the following statement:
Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.
While the ideal of this statement is admirable, the reality is that words have the power to hurt even more than a physical blow.
Over the last few days, you know who has been disparaging the press at a rate that is becoming frightening.
Inspiring by the barrage of tweets and speeches claiming that the press is the “enemy of the people”, Robert Chain called The Boston Globe newsroom fourteen times, threatening violence and murder. Thankfully, Mr. Chain was arrested before he could do actual physical harm to the newspaper’s employees.
All Presidents have a love/hate relationship with the press. However, most Presidents (with the exception of you know who) understand how vitally important it is for a living, thriving democracy to have news media that is not under the thumb of the government. If you know who had his way, only news media that complements him and his world view would be allowed to exist.
What is becoming increasingly scary to me is that there are far too many people in this country who don’t see what is happening. If we, as a nation, don’t step and stand up for our country and our Democracy, I fear that the America that our Founding Fathers dreamed, worked and died for will become a thing of the past.
Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of any legitimate and thriving democracy. But while many will claim that they can say anything, freedom of speech has boundaries.
Last week, “journalist” and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was removed from most social media platforms (with Twitter being the exception). The removal was based on the determination that Mr. Jones violated the terms of service.
The issue as I see it, is that freedom of speech is a very broad and subjective phrase. Freedom of speech could be as simple as an average citizen stating that they disagree with a government official and not being thrown in prison or executed. It could also be as complicated as a member of a far right group using certain words that many would recoil from in disgust.
The fact is that Mr. Jones is entitled to speak as he pleases. Trying to restrict or compartmentalize freedom of speech is akin to a slippery slope that one cannot climb out of.
However, it should be also understood that when one signs up for a social media platform, there are rules that users have to follow. If the users don’t follow those rules, then the people running the platform have every right to close their account.
As simple as the term of “freedom of speech” may seem, the truth is that the concept is complicated. The Alex Jones case, I think, has opened many of our eyes to this fact.
You’re a Jew. I’m a Jew. You believe in free speech. I believe in free speech.
But I also know that the internet and your creation, Facebook, allows hate speech and lies about The Holocaust to spread at a rate that is quite scary from my perspective.
I don’t know about your family history, but I lost family in The Holocaust.
One of the reasons I am alive today is because members of my family took a chance when they left their homes and families for a new life in America in the early 20th century. I suspect your family at about this time in history did the same thing.
While I respect that Facebook is supposed to be a social media platform for all of us, a line has to be drawn when it comes to hate speech of any kind.
There should be no place for hate speech in this world in 2018. Unfortunately, Facebook allows hate speech to flourish.
America is supposed to be land of the free, home of the brave. Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are one of the corners of our country, both culturally and legally.
One of the news items that has not been on the front page (but should be) is that the Department of Homeland Security is compiling a list of journalists and so-called “media influencers”.
While it is unknown what will be done to the individuals and organizations whose names appear on the list, the thought that this is happening in the United States of America in 2018 sends a chill down my spine.
Suppression of the free press is not something that happens in the United States. Suppression of the free press happens in countries like Iran and North Korea.
If this is not a sign that you know who and his minions are shredding the standards of American democracy to meet their own needs, I don’t know what is.
I only know that we still have the right to vote and we should all be using that right come the fall. If we don’t, the democracy that is the United States of America may soon be no more.