Freedom of Speech is dead

I’m not a Republican. Before you place that liberal tag on me, be warned… I’m also not a Democrat.

No, I consider myself an Independent. Whenever it’s election time, I do something rare these days. I actually vote for the candidate rather than the party. Although I tend to vote Republican more than Democrat, I refuse to let the preconceived notions of one party define me or pressure me into voting one way or another. That’s just the way I am. If I only learned one thing during my time at Emory & Henry College, it was this – learn to think for yourself. Unfortunately, that gets you in trouble in the current state of times we live in.

Freedom of speech is one of the core principles our country was founded on 239 years ago. I’m here today to tell you it no longer exists. Oh sure, you still have the right to say what you want, think how you want to think, and express yourself how you want to express yourself. HOWEVER, if it doesn’t fit in with the flavor of the day or the media propaganda that is accepted at the time, you run the risk of ruining your career, destroying your life, staining your family’s name.

Never has this ugly truth been more crystal clear than over the past month. If you are not following me, let me put it this way. If you were to come out right now and proclaim yourself as a supporter of the Confederate Flag or a non-supporter of gay marriage, you are immediately labeled a racist and a bigot by the growing liberal community of our nation. Your views go viral – shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter. Depending on your line of work, you run the risk of losing your job, not necessarily because of your views, but because your views do not fit in with popular opinion. And nobody can employ someone whose views might reflect poorly on their organization. Now, I am not saying that is my stance on either of these controversial issues, but I am saying that is what would happen if I did take that stance. That, my friends, is not Freedom of Speech.

What I will take a stance on is to point out the hypocrisy of the mostly liberal media and nation in which we now live. Shortly after Dylann Roof committed the heinous act of killing nine people in an African-American church in Charleston, S.C., the debate began to rage over whether the Confederate Flag should be taken down from the state’s capitol building in Columbia. After all, pictures depicted Roof, filled with rage and hate, with the Confederate Flag.

What the national media forgets – or perhaps more accurately, wants you to forget – is that there were also pictures of Roof burning the American Flag, wearing symbols of the Apartheid era in South Africa and other symbols of hate. Regardless, the damage had been done. Public opinion had been painted and the Confederate Flag now had to come down, because while there may be Freedom of Speech in this country, there is no place for such a divisive symbol as the Confederate Flag now on a state government building.

Now that point, I can see. I don’t argue against it. We can argue all day long about what the Confederate Flag represents. Does it represent heritage or does it represent hate? Does it represent the South fighting back against what it perceived as aggression from the North or does it represent slavery? No matter which side of the debate you find yourself on, you can’t argue that the meaning of the Confederate Flag now does carry a meaning of hate to more people than it does not. Therefore, it is argued by many, it had to come down. After all, while we may be guaranteed freedom of speech, the government should not take a stand on such a divisive issue. At least that seemed to be the message portrayed by the liberals and national media.

That is all fine and good if that is your stance and that is your point. At least a precedent had been set moving forward. Or had it? How ironic, at the very same time, another divisive symbol is allowed to shine bright and proudly on one of the nation’s most recognizable landmarks. The day the Supreme Court historically voted that gay marriage would be the law of the land, the White House was lit up that very night in the colors of the rainbow – the symbol of gay pride. Talk about hypocrisy. Here, the very symbol of our nation, the White House, is taking a stance on a divisive issue. That is my whole point. You can’t have one divisive symbol and not have the other. You can’t take one down because you don’t agree with it, then turn around and blast another symbol that offends millions of others because you do. That is hypocrisy at its finest. That is NOT freedom of speech.

These hypocrisies are also what are wrong with our nation today – political correctness. Today, people are more worried about being PC than actually doing what is right. Being politically correct is way more important than things that actually matter – the national debt, unemployment, foreign threats such as ISIS, etc.

My point was proven as I watched the CBS Nightly News this Friday evening. The number one story on the news that night was about the Confederate Flag officially coming down from the state capitol building in South Carolina. It was a big story, a huge story, no doubt, but CBS spent the entire first segment on the issue. It was deemed so important it was featured front and center ahead of these two stories – the arrest of 10 people inspired by ISIS militants in suspected terrorism-related plots during the weeks leading up to the Fourth of July holiday, and a government data breach in which the social security numbers of up to 22 million Americans were stolen. Now, in the grand scheme of things which is more important – a Confederate Flag coming down or potential terrorist attacks in the U.S. thwarted? Which would you be more concerned about, a flag coming down or someone possibly stealing your social security information? This is what is wrong with our country today.

When a biker can go into Wal-Mart and have his Confederate Flag turned down on a birthday cake, only to come back the next day and have an ISIS battle flag printed on a birthday cake at the same store, something is seriously wrong in our country. Personally, I am sick of it.