Many may argue that freedom of speech is the bedrock of a democratic society. In order for a civilization to be deemed free, one must be able to express oneself without the fear of persecutions. Today, around the world, there are many people who do not have the basic right to express themselves freely. There are some conversations that must be held behind closed doors and under the cloak of night. If even the thought of a person expressing themselves goes against the status quo the concept of imprisonment or even death is not foreign. We see this now with reporters who go missing or murdered for seeking and shedding light on truth.
Currently, In Iran, there’s huge protests erupting from the death of Mahsa Amini. A young woman who was taken into custody by the morality police because of how she wore her headscarf. Iran has erupted. The youth have taken to the streets to protest against the government and unfortunately, many lives are lost as they express their frustration with their government.
Here in America, we puff our chests out with pride as it relates to our individual freedoms. We turn our noses up at governments that limit their citizens ability to speak truth to power, their inability to speak out against their government and its policies leaves American’s clutching their pearls in shock. We pride ourselves in talking, we talk the truth, we talk shit, we talk just to talk and we revel in it! Nonetheless, we find ourselves at in interesting place here in the good ‘ole U.S. of A. We have reached a crossroads where we, as Americans, are coming to terms that free speech does not equate to free from consequences. In a recent post, Obdurate, I write about the very public consequences of those whom choose to talk, regardless of accuracy. In an age of social media, where we can in essence connect with an infinite number of people beyond our immediate social circle, we see the consequences from free speech having real time impact to those whom talk just to talk.
Lets keep it real dear readers: not everything needs to be said aloud with a bullhorn for the world to read, listen to and view. There are some conversations that still need to happen behind closed doors in the cloak of night. Now, some may argue that I am wrong in this statement and the beauty of living in America and having certain freedoms allows us to say anything we want. Now, in essence there is a beauty in self-expression. In any case, the swift backlash of “cancel culture” rings disingenuous. We need more conversation, more active listening and for God’s sake more tools to manage our feelings and overall mental health. We have to be able to talk to each other. It is vital for us to have uncomfortable conversations as we make our way in this world.
Unfortunately, we are not there. Conversations across racial, socio-economic, religious and gender groups are not happening with active listening. Everyone hardly waits for the other person to speak before they rattle off their speaking points curated from their own social bubble. I am curious to see how this all plays out as we continue to find ourselves struggling to communicate with each other in a way that is conducive for our overall betterment as Americans. What are your thoughts dear reader? I am looking forward to your response.