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Is Freedom of Speech for Everyone?

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I do a lot of research on the Internet, and in so doing, run across a lot of left and right wing sites. One thing I have noticed is that there are people on these sites that have one thing in common, although they would beg to differ. This commonality is intolerance for viewpoints not in line with their particular ideology.

 

So I ask, does freedom of speech only count when you are the one speaking, or does it apply to others as well? Does a person who expresses a differing opinion merit being labeled a troll or other sub-human species? Is it okay to engage in the same type of personal slander those we in the so-called “progressive” community accuse others of? By resorting to such tactics in our exchanges with others, have we become that which we despise?

 

If we cannot act civilized when others disagree with us, then we are no better than the ones we accuse of using smear tactics instead of facts. Name-calling not only alienates the victim of the attack, but also degrades the one who has resorted to personal attack rather than reason. Personal attacks also reduce the attacker’s credibility and in most instances, stop cold any reasonable conversation. I do not know about anyone else, but I learn from my exchanges with others who think differently than I do. If all I do is preach to the choir, I limit myself.

 

I felt compelled to share this - not to alienate others, but to bring to light something that is important, especially this day and age. Freedom of speech is a two-way street. If you want the freedom to express your opinion, you must grant it to others as well.

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Barbara H. Peterson is retired from the California Department of Corrections, where she worked as a Correctional Officer at Folsom Prison. She was one of the first females to work at the facility in this classification. After retirement, she went to (more...)
 

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