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What I meant to say was...

Arthur Graphic-Clarion of Arthur, Illinois

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Wise and Otherwise

I believe we still live in a free society, and I guess we have free speech, in a fashion, but something just doesn't seem right anymore.

Mind you, there are consequences for sharing your thoughts, beliefs, and opinions as there always has been. In today's communication age, though, it seems as if things get blown out of proportion in order to silence the person making the statement; but pn the other hand it seems sometimes statements are made to provoke a strong reaction to increase one's "exposure." Goodness knows exposure is missing from our society today.

We are all told to be open minded, respect diversity, and practice tolerance, but it always seems to come with an asterisk. There are pre-approved thoughts on all these subjects, and, well, you have to sign up for those first before your right to speak is accepted.

We're open-minded (as long as you agree with us), tolerant (as long as you put aside your own values and beliefs), and celebrate diversity (as long as it is practiced in the parameters deemed "appropriate").

The problem that arises here is, as individuals, these criteria are a little too strict for complete adherence by anyone because they are not realistic.

I think even more disturbing is that, when asked a question about your values, beliefs, morals, and/or opinions what many would like you to do is he. Please mouth the words "we" want to hear and everything will be perfectly fine. That way we can put you in a little box, on the shelf, where you will remain silent if you know what is good for you.

Free speech is not something memorized to parrot back when prompted but is something very personal and very much your own.

On the other hand, you have to learn to use it wisely. I'm all up for some bawdy jokes and no prude when it comes to comedy, for example. However, there is a difference between going to a comedy club and going to the local meeting of your garden club.

In terms of free speech in America today, I think we've lost our way a bit. We encourage everyone to speak their minds, be themselves, express how they feel; and when they do - we sue or demand people lose their jobs because we did what we asked of them.

Free speech* should just be free speech without the You can agree or disagree with what is said, but you can't'stop it and no one can stop you from responding.

I guess with all this free speech we have nowadays that more free listening is needed.

Don't alert the media as they are part of the problem.

I don't know if this column is wise or otherwise (definitely rambling!) but I am happy I have the right to write about it!

Copyright 2014 Arthur Graphic-Clarion, Arthur, Illinois. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: January 1, 2014

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