free speech

I am 50 years old.  That means I am an infant on social media.  I am the founder of a non-profit that has a fairly significant social media following.  140k + facebook followers and several thousand on IG and Twitter.

My learning process has been an interesting assault on what I felt my beliefs were.  I thought I was all for “free speech.”  I really kind of still do feel that way.  But here is the reality of it.  When I go on my social media accounts and see some of the things that have been written, I lose my mind.

An example: “Thoughts and Prayers.”  Is that not the most benign statement there is?  Is there any statement currently being used in our lexicon that has less meaning? It is used so often that it seems it’s in a race with the word “like” on the track to the verbal destruction of the human soul.

“Like….thoughts and prayers is like….so like….. over-used!”

Another one that gets me is when people include their faith in their comments.  After serving in multiple combat zones where the manipulation of religion was at least a small part of the problem, I cringe when people bring their religion to the show, so to speak.  Having said that, let me be even more honest…when I see and read ignorance distributed by arrogant humans, especially when there are real evils being subverted by their righteousness, It makes me very, very angry.  An example is when I read supporters of a certain senate candidate in Alabama comparing his accusers of “persecuting him like Jesus,” I completely shut down.  It is no different to me than when a Taliban spokesman espouses the view that “women only have 1/4 of the brain of men.” Ignorance is everywhere. Even in the US of A.

anyway…

I went to my facebook settings and disallowed posts that contained: Trump, Clinton, Obama, Amen, Jesus, Muslim, Christian, Islam, Prayers, Service, Republican, Democrat, God and a few cuss words that I don’t want to share.  I felt good about taking those words out of play in my little fiefdom.  A fiefdom that was granted to me by the supporters of our cause.  Many of those people say “Thoughts and Prayers” quite a bit.

But back to my point here……..In the United States of America, we have the right to express ourselves openly and honestly.

Do I truly believe in the right t free speech?  If I do, I shouldn’t regulate what anyone has to say unless it has the ability to cause incredible harm.  Hurt feelings are not harm.

One of my favorite follows in social media is on Twitter. It is @MuslimMarine.  He engages all comers in discussions about Islam.  He is exceptionally brave in my opinion.  I am proud to read what he writes.  Sometimes I disagree with what he says, but he has earned my respect for being courageous enough to step into the fray.

I want to believe in free speech even when it isn’t easy for me personally.

I believe that the loud voices of those of us who fought for the rights we as Americans enjoy, are needed right now in our culture.

We are needed because we actually had/have “skin in the game” in earning those rights and we need to be the voice of reason during this time of hate and bigotry and the insane contest to be designated as the most victimized segment of our great culture.

I don’t believe disrespect ever solved anything.

I don’t believe kindness ever stopped progress.

Now….go to my facebook page and write “Thoughts and Prayers” 100k times…I promise I’ll let it roll.

 

#usa

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