What Happened to Free Speech

Categories Emotions, Meditation
“Our society is built on the values of free speech and mutual respect, but cancel culture rejects both. In place of free speech, it demands conformity. Instead of mutual respect, it tears people down.”- Nikki Haley

True indeed. Humanity has embraced hatred, nastiness, negativity, and bile toward one another when there are opposing ideologies.

Whilst it is necessary to leverage whatever authority we possess in defense of ideas, ideals, and identities that may be under assault, this does not give us permission to rip another person’s reputation, or tear into their souls as if they have done the ultimate harm. Those who have committed wrong and harm should be held to account no doubt, but the response should be in a humane fashion that will preserve integrity.

The problem, however, is that it’s as if everybody is just waiting for the smallest trigger from the other side so as to spew anger; to criticize everybody else’s views and practices; but not our own. We’ve become too intolerant and unforgiving of mistakes unless we make them ourselves.

A difference of opinion, however minor, makes us become like a lynch mob in fora that include social media. We quickly condemn, most often without countervailing proof; and without giving a chance to the other person to explain their own view. We want to destroy, kill, eviscerate, or exterminate. This is not justice; which requires that we spare the lives of the people with whom we disagree. Everybody deserves to have their ‘day in court’, so to speak.

Sometimes the vengeance is so deep-rooted that we call people who are now fifty-five out for something they said when they were teenagers; forgetting that we ourselves did some unbelievably stupid stuff in our younger days. We need to accept that people are not what we heard them say, or what they did a long time ago.

There should be limits to cancel culture, which is defined as ‘the act of publicly shaming another person for behaviour deemed unacceptable’. Society should be more forgiving and should realize that we are only good if we are all good together. People have good days, and bad days too. There are good people who do bad things; just like there are bad people who do good things.

We need to put these facts into consideration before we blow up somebody’s life so we can get a little sadistic pleasure, and then the other person is left there stunned, shattered, and hurt. We need to agree that we can disagree with people in a pluralistic society without calling them names; without assuming that they don’t have human kindness within them and that we shouldn’t care about them simply because we imagine that we are on the right side of the divide.

Finally, there is no harm in choosing love over hate even with those of a dissenting opinion; as opposed to choosing to make the world crueler than it needs to be.

Remember, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future”.
I am an epic introvert, who quickly becomes an open book when I pen what’s in my significantly fertile mind; fertile as a result of bombardment by realities that are continuously captured by my inquisitive eyes, ears which are constantly rubbing the ground, through constant reading, and through dreaming too.

Writing provides an opportunity to ‘say’ what my unapologetic quiet mouth will not say; which not only soothes me, but also bequeaths to me a relief, a release, and a hope that the written words will change the world, even if only one person at a time.

And so should you seek, that’s where to find me; deeply tucked inside the blankets of reading, seeing, listening, dreaming, and then writing.

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