In recent years, there has been a major push to censor free speech, but I would argue that we need more voices to be heard, not fewer. The idea seems to be an attempt to filter out opinions and statements that are deemed offensive, but who gets to draw that line? Who gets to decide what opinions are offensive and which are simply misguided?
Some things sound offensive but aren’t. Others sound unoffensive but are. Sometimes it depends on who is the speaker and who is the listener. Its very subjective.
As an author and journalist who has known since the age of 11 that this is what I wanted to do, I have always opposed censorship of any kind. Censorship doesn’t stop ideas that we don’t like from spreading, it just makes them taboo. It makes them into things we don’t talk about publicly, but they do get whispered about in dark rooms, away from prying eyes and ears.
It needs to be out in the open. Rather than fearing things we disagree with, we should be willing to face them head on. We need to have a discussion with the people we don’t agree with. Not a discussion to change their minds, but one in which we try to understand them. If we would take the time to listen to each other, we might learn something.
The United States is supposed to be the land of the free, but we cannot maintain a free society when one group dictates life and morality to everybody else. And that goes for both or all political sides. Conservatives cannot dictate morality to progressive liberals any more than the liberals can do the same to evangelical Christians. Not if we want to maintain our status as the land of the free.
We have to hear each other. We have to find middle ground.
A free society cannot be a one-sided society.
Clearly our elected officials aren’t capable of this. That means its up to us, the men and women in the street. We have to stop playing their game and listen to what is going on in the world around us.
We need to hear more voices, not less.
There is an old saying that says you need to walk a mile in someone’s shoes before you judge them. Its true. We need to give that a try. I don’t mean you have to compromise your own morality, but you do need to at least understand where they are coming from. Understand why they feel the way they do.