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by Laramie Boyd
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The Importance of Venue
2017 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
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"Sir", the man asked, "What is this thing ... uh, Freedom of Speech?" He went on. "I have
an idea what freedom means, sort of, although there are lots of things that might come under this heading. To me it means the right
to pretty much say what you want, in most situations. Whether or not saying certain things is moral or immoral probably doesn't enter
into the picture, as that's a whole other ball game, morally. I ask myself, "How can I tell that I have the freedom to say what is
in my heart or on my mind, if it isn't specifically outlawed, besides the fact that it might be specifically outlawed"?
"My friend, that's the $64 question these days, because everybody seems to have their own personal definition of "freedom". The old
saying about yelling "fire" in a crowded building is just the tip of the iceberg compared to the tricky situations today as far as
race and gender and political correctness relationships are concerned. Words that have often been re-defines, such as gay, equality,
prejudice, racist, ethnic, and gender slurs, come to mind. Some people pick and choose, depending on their personal agenda, how to
define these and many more words. "Politically correct" has became a catch-all for any words or phrases that imply disagreement with
one's own situational topic of conversation."
"But Sir, recall the persons who have lost
their jobs or careers, their livelihoods, because words they spoke, even in some private conversations out of range of hearing by
anyone else, that were deemed by some to be cause for condemnation by some person or group. Some would say that if a person can't
express themselves in such circumstances, "protected" by freedom of speech, then that right doesn't exist. It may be that freedom
of speech is merely a situational right depending on who the speaker is and who the hearer is, and that there is really no such thing
as an overall, fundamental freedom of speech. Can that be?"
"Well, my friend, you are aware
that in certain court cases judges have the authority to admonish juries, and involved parties, not to discuss a case outside of court,
who they can and can't talk to about a specific case. I'd say a single judge has monumental power to decide whether or not speech
"Yes I am aware of that, Sir, but it just seems that all these things you
mention place such a limiting factor on the freedom to express an opinion. Take Donald Trump for example. People might say he took
a lot of liberties when he described certain other people and situations in his quest for the presidency. And Meryl Streep, in her
Academy Awards speech, instead of simply thanking her fans and those responsible for her award, reached out to defame the next president
of the United States in a scathing attack on his integrity and morals, when in fact it was just that he disagreed with her opinions
on certain matters. Many agree that that venue was inappropriate. But she is totally free to voice an opinion. It's not as though
either Trump or Streep were correct, or right, they were just stating opinions. Freedom of speech in action."
"Neal Bortz said it good, my friend. 'Free speech is meant to protect unpopular speech. Popular speech, by definition, needs no protection.'
Kris Kristofferson added, 'Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose.' Is freedom of speech just what is allowed by a small
minority of citizens with a specific agenda that does not agree with what is spoken? There is a worthy quote by Donald Gerson in The
Desert Sun, of Palm Springs. He felt Donald Trump, in his rantings, needed to turn a rhetorical corner in his inaugural speech, to
define greatness not as a past condition but as a correct mission. Greatness as single moms and police, coaches and pastors, 'standing
tall for order and morality.' Greatness as Rosa Parks refusing to surrender her seat or her dignity. Greatness as allowing every American
to be whatever their work and character can make them." This is Freedom of Speech at its greatest. Hear, Hear.