Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Free Speech

I am being inundated with "suggestions" on Facebook to join another group. This one is "Petition to get 'Fuck the Troops' kicked off face book" (sic). Or maybe it is "GET THE GROUP "FUCK THE TROOPS" OFF FACEBOOK". Or maybe "I am offended by the group "Fuck the Troops."" Or "Fuck "Fuck the Troops"". "Fuck People Who Say Fuck The Troops!". "SUPPORT THE TROOPS OR FUCK YOU". "Fuck the groups that say fuck the troops". Or my personal favorite: "If you say "Fuck The Troops", we say " Come say that shit to our faces!!"" and their profile pic is Chuck Norris from Invasion USA. So there are almost 300 groups that are either for or against the troops or for or against groups that are for or against the troops! Whew! That's a lot of "fucks"!


Here's where I stand: My Grandfather served in WWII and was given the Purple Heart for injuries sustained in battle. My Dad served in Viet Nam. His brother, my uncle, gave his life in the same war and was awarded the Purple Heart and other awards for bravery posthumously. Two Uncle on my Mom's side served in the military. Several cousins and good friends have served bravely. Some still serve. I am proud of these people. And I am proud of this country. I think that even for all the shit that goes on this is still the greatest country in the world. What makes the United States of America so great? One of the many reasons is Freedom of Speech.


Freedom of Speech. We hear that a lot but I think we hear it so much that we forget what the words really mean. Freedom of Speech is "...protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and by many state constitutions and state and federal laws. Criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas that people may find distasteful or against public policy, such as racism, sexism, and other hate speech are generally permitted." (Wikipedia). How does that work for you? Sounds great, doesn't it? 


That is until someone says something that goes against something you hold dear, like religion. Or America. Or politics. Or someone says something that offends you. Then it has to go! Has to! The terrible and offensive things these people are saying should be eradicated! Wiped from the face of the Earth and never spoken of or even thought about forever! That way of thinking is my friends is Censorship. With a capital "C". And that is un-American. Free speech protects all speech, not just the speech you agree with. Did you catch that one part in the quote above? The part that says "Criticism of the government and advocacy of unpopular ideas that people may find distasteful or against public policy"?


If the group "Fuck the Troops" is removed from Facebook then the injuries my Grandfather sustained, the time my family and friends spent in the military and the life my Uncle Eddie gave will have been a waste. An utter waste. If this group is removed then we should just gather up all the books and burn 'em. Just like the Nazis did. And then round up the artists, writers, journalists, authors and anyone that believes in the true meaning of Freedom of Speech and stick them (us) in a camp somewhere. Just like the Nazis. And the Commies. 


As an artist Freedom of Speech is very important. I know that I do pictures and say things that offend. And that each time someone is offended there are repercussions. But the offended is the ultimate censor. The offended can choose not to look at my art. They can choose not to read my blog or be my "friend". But that can not and should not try to stop me from saying what I'm saying. I have the right to Freedom of Speech but I do not have the right to be heard.  That is how one should deal with speech one finds offensive. Ignore it. Put together a rebuttal. Protest or counter-protest. Start a group called "Fuck you for not agreeing with me and believing in the same things I believe in and seeing the world the way I see the world". But do not venture down the road to censorship. That is a a very dark and dangerous road. One that we may not be able to come back from. 


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_speech_in_the_United_States
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_in_the_United_States
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clear_and_present_danger
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_speech_fights
http://www.leliathomas.com/2005/10/20/a-time-for-censorship-a-time-for-freedom/

1 comment:

billy tackett said...

Just wanted to add a little something I should have the first go around. Personally I think the "Fuck the Troops" group is offensive and disrespectful and flies in the face of what the troops are laying their lives on the line for but on the flip side this is exactly what they are putting their lives on the line for. I would like to see these group members live in communist country for a year but we live in the real world and we know that will never happen so we just ignore those we disagree with and live our lives comforted by the fact that there are a group of highly trained professionals with state of the art technology and some of the biggest and baddest fucking guns in the world out there fighting for us and willing to die for our country.