Much has been made in recent months about the demise of 1st Amendment rights on American college campuses. Just this week, a Democrat party member of the House of Representatives (from California, of course) fretted that things would be so much easier, more peaceful, more convenient, if he could just circumvent the 1st Amendment.
If only the idea of “safe spaces” could be expanded from the campus to our everyday lives, right? Our lives would be free from having to hear, much less confront ideas and attitudes that differ from ours. Spare that child!
I suppose I could point out that such attitudes make me feel “uncomfortable”, but, you see, I am a white, heterosexual male, so what do I know? I am told that I am part of the problem.
Well, I’m not going to shut up. So there. And I won’t wear ribbons of any color, pussy hats, arm bands, or any of the other empty symbolic gestures that pass for courage these days. I won’t even wear a MAGA hat. Our society long ago abandoned actual civil dialogue in exchange for posters, buttons, bumper stickers, slogans, sound bites, “trending” videos, and Internet memes. These things are so much easier than either listening or actually thinking. We are the unreflected entitlement country now.
I’m going to propose a compromise, just so I can be sure to insult both sides of the political spectrum. Here goes:
From now on, let every Friday be designated as “safe space for free speech day.” Every Friday, every American is encouraged to exercise his/her/whatever 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech. Say what you want, as often as you want, as loud as you want, anywhere you want on Fridays.
The speech police can have their way the other six days of the week. But not on Fridays. On Fridays all Americans will enjoy their Constitutional right to free speech, unfettered. To be politically incorrect, brazen, and free. If someone doesn’t want to hear or see “uncomfortable things”, they are invited to turn off their TV sets and radios, laptops, tablets, and cellphones. Go read a book. Take a walk and contemplate Nature. Meditate on your own life and your own shortcomings. Write, paint, dance, and let others express themselves without interference from “social justice warriors” of the Left or narrow minds on the Right.
Throw off your shackles, speak up without fear. And listen. Nobody seems to want to do that any more. And don’t worry that something you say or write will destroy your career. After all, you said it on Free Speech Friday.
Who knows? Hollywood might even be able to find someone willing to host the Oscars, as long as they hold it on a Friday night.