Tag Archives: Freedom Of Speech

Thoughts On Ilhan Omar’s Israel Comments

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?

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Filed under International News, Thoughts On...., World News

It’s Called A Public Library For A Reason

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.

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Filed under Books, National News

Sticks And Stones Do Indeed Break Bones, But Words Hurt More

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.

 

 

 

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Filed under National News, Politics

Thoughts On The Removal Of Alex Jones From Social Media And The Boundaries Of Free Speech

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.

 

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Filed under National News, Politics

Dear Mark Zuckerberg: A Response To Allowing Holocaust Deniers To Stay On Facebook

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

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.

Sincerely

A Concerned Facebook User

 

 

 

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Filed under History, Politics

Germany, 1933 Here We Come

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.

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Freedom Of Speech

Among the bullet points on the bill of rights, the most important is freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech, every other freedom listed is like a house built without a foundation.

Whether it was the attack at Charlie Hebdo earlier this week, 9/11, the London bus bombing in 2005 or any other terrorist attack, what the terrorists are really attacking is freedom of speech.

As I believe it to be, the freedom of speech states that two people can disagree on an issue, with the caveat that even though they disagree, they respect the fact that the other person is entitled to his or her opinion.

There are many countries in this world where freedom of speech, along with other basic freedoms are either severely curtailed or simply don’t exist. There are some within these countries that believe in the idea of my way or the highway (or their case, the grave). They see freedom of speech and other basic freedoms as so vile that anyone who dares to disagree with them, is at best thrown in jail and tortured and at worst, executed.

Freedom of speech and other basic freedoms is not just an American ideal. It belongs to all of us and it’s time that we stood up for it.

#JeSuiCharlie

 

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