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Freedom of Speech and Responsiblity

Updated on December 9, 2013
Careless, indeed.
Careless, indeed. | Source

Enters Soapbox

In America, we pride ourselves as a nation of freedoms and liberties many countries do not possess. We have a right to speak out against authority, we have the right to express our most controversial opinions and we get to do this without fear of repercussion. This is the United States of America and we do hold these truths to be self-evident, for the most part.

Social media has helped us elect presidents, start online riots, rally up boycotts and send the White House a plethora of “emergency” petitions. We can pass hoaxes off as truths and conspiracies off as realistically intriguing. We spit out every idea, no matter how inane, around the world with one click of a button. Facebook and Twitter have given us a free outlet for marketing as well as a real-time status watch. I mean, we know everything there is to know the moment it happens, yet we still struggle to be appreciative and civil. Some of us, more than others, still find a way to disrupt what could and should be a good thing by acting like tantrum-throwing toddlers.

Some of us have yet to learn that posting a “selfie” in the bathroom wearing nothing but a bra and panties has taken away any rights the owner once had to that photo. Many still struggle to remember that publicly threatening another person on the World Wide Web is considered a felony. The majority of these offenders are adults, not hormonally challenged teens. Yes, there it is; American adults are incapable of showing restraint in public places. The internet, though entered through your filthy bedroom, is indeed a public place.

As a country looked upon by others as cocky and arrogant, it would seem the most patriotic thing we can really do is gather some self-control. As we dance around half-naked or verbally abuse others for the audience that is our world, perhaps we should pause for a moment and ask ourselves if it’s really worth it. Is it worth showing weakness in our system? Is it worth proving to the other countries that we, the United States, are not quite as “united” as our name suggests? Even the countries who have a lower percentage of English speaking adults have access to translators, online. Why hit send on a disrespectful, oftentimes obscene, response to someone when it is surely unnecessary? Is the ego of the American so inflated that “one-upping” and “last-wording” is commonplace? Do we not respect ourselves enough anymore to keep our private life private?

Our First Amendment right does not justify ridiculousness. Just like anything dangerous, words should be regulated by the operator; I am sure our founding fathers did not forget to add that to the Constitution- they assumed we, as a nation, would know how to act like grown-ups. My third-grade English teacher used to say this regarding the use of the semicolon, and now I say it to all the irresponsible internet users abusing his or her rights: Just because you can, does not mean you should, so use it responsibly.

Exits soapbox.

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    • Barnsey profile image

      Barnsey 3 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

      You make a great point, however, it is my solemn duty to look for a counter argument. One thing that may not be so bad is the fact that there is so much apparent dissent among US citizens and classes. I think it shows we are no better as human beings than anyone else in any other country. We simply have a different history and form of government.

      That fact is why we are seen as cocky and arrogant. We are clearly no different, and yet many of us scowl down at foreigners at every opportunity. Let's remember how we all came to be in this land.

      All that being said we absolutely should learn to act with more restraint and poise. Perhaps on the internet there is a disconnect where folks instinctively act out when they don't have to look someone in the eye. Its a great place for cowards, sadly, next best thing to being behind a gun I bet.

    • bipolartist profile image
      Author

      Amy Magness Whatley 3 years ago from United States of America

      Barnsey, I used to have a political page on Facebook. It ended up with a pretty intense following. I began barking at those who disagreed with my views and at times was what my husband called "a bully."

      I regret those actions, for they were guided by ego. I sought applause for my diatribe. What once gave me a sense of belonging, now reminds me that I am just a human always in search of acceptance, even if it harms another. I did learn from that experience -- it took one year.

      Fighting for rights/ debating is one thing. Attacking others with the opposing views is another.

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 3 years ago from Austin, Texas

      This is a good article. I'm surprised you only have two comments.

      On the plus side: At least you haven't been banned from HUBPages. :)

      I'm a believer in our Constitutional freedoms – especially freedom of speech. But anybody who wants to justify abusing and insulting, hurting, slandering and threatening other human beings and labeling it “freedom of speech”? If I have to explain the “why” and “why not” of that type of activity, I'm not wasting my time with that individual.. Yeah whatever! TALK TO THE HAND!!

      People have freedom to speak. You have freedom to ignore them. You have the freedom to call the cops if need be. You definitely have the right, power and freedom to defend yourself, if the so-called “freedom user/abuser” don't know when to quit.

      So let everybody bark. You should allow this because you can't read people's minds. If they howl and whine, at least you know where they're coming and you know to move and get out of their way!!

      I'm a peacemaker. “As much as lieth in me.”

    • bipolartist profile image
      Author

      Amy Magness Whatley 3 years ago from United States of America

      Thanks Cmoney,

      I think the lack of traffic has to do with my lack of followers. I am too new.

    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 3 years ago from Austin, Texas

      Shared to my American Patriot board on Pinterest.

      http://www.pinterest.com/pin/183943966004323595/

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