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Monday, August 1, 2016

Is Freedom of Speech Dead?

 I am starting to get the feeling that "freedom of speech" is eroding. What words are we allowed to use, according to the gods of "political correctness"? Can I say "I'm bidding 2 spades" if I'm playing bridge? Can I use the word "boy" when referring to my great-nephew, who is almost 7? Can I use the word "thug" when referring to petty criminals and felons? 

I looked up the word "thug", just to check for myself if there is any reason anyone should feel that the word itself is racist. It isn't, at least not against African Americans (Indians may have an issue with it, but I digress). This is the definition I found online:

THəɡ/noun1.a violent person, especially a criminal.

2.historicala member of a religious organization of robbers and assassins in India. Devotees of the goddess Kali, the Thugs waylaid and strangled their victims, usually travelers, in a ritually prescribed manner. They were suppressed by the British in the 1830s.

So why was a weatherman from Dallas, who was just expressing his feelings (with which I happen to agree, to some extent) forced to resign? I'm still trying to figure that one out myself.

I know there is a difference between Free Speech and Hate Speech. There is nothing in the comment, "The DNC parading the mothers of slain thugs on their stage has made me furious" that points to the race or ethnicity of the people on stage or to their late progeny. To be honest, I have an issue with the DNC "parading the mothers of slain" whatever "on their stage". I also have an issue with people putting so much energy into complaining that criminals who were resisting arrest or trying to kill police officers were shot. I know there are some times that police officers shoot people for the wrong reason. But too many people are jumping every time an African American is shot by a police officer (of whatever ethnicity). I have yet to hear a "hue and cry" over non-African Americans shot by police or police officers shot by suspects (of whatever ethnicity). Why is that? Is a shooting always a "bad" shooting if a police office shoots an African-American but not a "bad" shooting when the police officer shoots a non-African-American? Are all African-Americans non-criminals and all non-African-Americans criminals? 

When a person (of any ethnicity) commits a crime, that person knows (s)he doesn't want to be caught. That person also knows that (s)he might be shot or otherwise physically restrained by a police officer if they run or attack the police or resist arrest. That is as it should be, in my humble opinion. 

Why, also, do these shootings or other perpetrator deaths make the headlines but the police who risk their lives to save others get buried on page 27 of the newspaper? 

This is not to say that I think police officers are saints. It just means that I believe that police officers cannot properly protect us, themselves and their partners if every time they are dealing with a perpetrator they have to think about what the headlines and the "PC Police" will say. 

This brings us back to "Freedom of Speech". Is it eroding? Why is the "PC Police" so quick to accuse others of racism but just as quick to call Israel apartheid, to call Zionism (the desire of Jews to have our homeland) racism, to call Jews horrible names, condemn terrorism against Gentiles in Europe but condone (and, often applaud) terrorism in Israel or against Jews in Europe? Why do Jewish students on the campuses of American universities get yelled down or threatened just for being Jews and even more so if they express their support of Israel? Why was Phyllis Chesler, a feminist who I've been following since my Mom was in college (in her late 30s) and I was in my teens, forced to hide her feelings about Israel from "friends" and colleagues?  It's Israel's fault, the lovers of "Political Correctness" claim. It's all the fault of the one country in the region where Freedom of Speech is law, the one country where gays and women and non-Muslims are respected, not "honor" killed. Before you start condemning a weatherman in Dallas, check your own prejudices. Clean up your own "house" before you criticize (nay, excoriate) others. And let Freedom and the Bill of Rights guide you. 

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