Free speech comes with a price – for most of us.
Freedom of speech is a human right. I have always embraced that right, but in reality it often results in negative consequences for many of us. But free speech has always existed unfiltered in my utopia. I have fantasized about many versions of my utopia. The one I find myself visiting most often recently is one where people can freely speak their truth – and nobody gets hurt. This strikes me as a reasonable version of the ideal existence. The key to this perfect place is nobody getting hurt by the truth. This would require that so-called truths not be delivered with maliciousness or with the intent of self-promotion at the expense of another.
In the past, I have dared to speak truths publicly because I believed it was the right thing to do and it was my attempt to improve the lives of other people. Even though I have never revealed the truth to be malicious, I have often paid a price for being truthful – losing relationships, promotions, and respect.
Because of my own experience with speaking my well-intended truths, I am left speechless when it comes to witnessing the overwhelming support certain U.S. political candidates have received when they speak their malicious and ill-intended truths. One candidate has even suggested repeatedly that harm should come to his opponent if the election doesn’t go his way. I hope he is held legally accountable if he loses and a crazy person acts on his words. If not a prison cell, then perhaps a permanent muzzle would be an appropriate punishment for the verbal vomit he has poured into the ears of my country. I simply have no words to explain why others speak encouragement for politicians who use their words to intentionally harm others so they can promote themselves.
As I watch the United States of America becoming painfully and dangerously divided over the words politicians have spoken, my verbal utopia is quickly becoming one where nobody speaks at all.
I wish everyone in America would stop speaking until November 9th, with the hope of calming some riled-up citizens and reducing the price that this country will likely pay for the divisive, self-serving “truths” that have already been spewed.
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© 2016 by Julie Ryan. All rights reserved
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