Hate Speech vs Free Speech
The world is a terrifying place these days. Over the last two years, I have grown more and more concerned about the society my children are growing up in. When our world leaders are more concerned with tweeting and spewing hateful things about other individuals then the well being of our nation and our nation’s people, what are our children learning?
We always teach our children to be accepting of others and to look at what’s on the inside of a person and not the outside. We try to teach our children not to be bullies but when they see the most powerful man in America bullying anyone who is different from him what are we teaching the younger generation? As parents, we can’t allow the behavior of an overgrown, immature, and racist individual to be the moral compass for our nation and our children. But what do we tell our children when they ask how this man was elected as president in the first place. I was recently faced with this question when my eldest son asked me it. I wasn’t quite sure what to say when he asked me. I hesitated and thought for a moment of how I could sugar coat it, but there really isn’t any good way to explain how a man like Donald Trump became President of the United States other than just telling it like it is. I answered him as truthfully as I could but left out specific details that he didn’t need to know as a child. I told my son that sadly there are a lot of people in America who have a lot of hate in their hearts and they are afraid of change and anything/anyone different from them. I explained that a lot of people cannot view the world farther than their own front door and there is a “me first” mentality in the nation right now. People have forgotten how to care about each other. I told him Americans are not the only humans in the world but unfortunately, some people are living in America who only believe that it is America and Americans who are important. These individuals think it is America first before any other nation or people. There are people in America who do not view the world as a whole but instead see it as us vs. them. I then explained that until everyone starts looking at every individual as a living breathing human being and not judging people by the color of their skin, their religion, their homeland, etc.… we will always have hate in the world. I finished it by saying Donald Trump is the epitome of all the badness and hatred in our society. He is the exact type of man you do not want to be like.
Hate Speech vs Free Speech
So is it our right as Americans to have freedom of speech even when that speech is hateful, violent, or mean-spirited? Do we still have the right to spew hateful rhetoric when we hold a powerful and influential presence and position in the nation? When people who are in power speak people are listening intently and believing the offensive words which are being said no matter how ridiculous they may be? If individuals in power are causing pain to other individuals or are directing others in a roundabout way to cause pain to others then are we still protected by our right of free speech?
In October 2018 America witnessed the extent to which hurtful words can have. Our President has defined his presidency by creating more hate and discord in our country. Trump has created a more significant division between America’s people than I have ever witnessed in my thirty-five years of life in this world. All of Trump’s hate rhetoric finally hit the fan in October 2018. When Trump continuously speaks about locking people up, body slamming individuals, degrading women, insulting minorities, attacking former and current government officials, calling the media the enemy, locking children in cages, mocking disabled individuals, and encouraging his followers to believe that the before mentioned individuals are evil and doing bad in the world then, of course, you are going to have people who take his words to heart. When bombs are sent out to individuals that the president has continuously spoken hateful, violent, and degrading words about then, I believe it is, apparent to see the effects hate speech can have on people.
Hate Speech Affects People Differently
Hate speech doesn’t just affect the people who are being spoken about, but it also affects individuals who hear the hateful words day after day and begin to believe the words. In October 2018 an individual who was a devout follower of Donald Trump took it upon himself to eliminate the president’s adversaries by sending bombs to them via mail. This disturbed individual listened to the president's words day after day and lived by those words. After listening to the president’s words for two years and reading the president’s hateful tweets, this individual felt encouraged enough to try to take the lives of other Americans. This dangerous man might not have acted on his hateful beliefs if the president had not been spewing the hate that he was stating daily on Twitter, at rallies, and during speeches. People who are prominent in the world must realize that their actions and words have consequences. People are watching them and emulating them. When you are encouraging a world of hate, discord, and racism, then that is going to affect the people who are watching you.
Still a Coward
Trump still hasn’t taken responsibility for his role in the audacious attempts of murder of various government officials and outspoken anti trump individuals who are prominent on TV. Even though it is evident that this man who tried to murder twelve individuals was acting on what he believed was what the president would want. All the individuals targeted were people who the president had singled out as problematic. The man who sent the bombs literally drove around in a van with Trump’s face plastered all over it and the faces of Trump’s adversaries were on the vehicle with the crosshairs of a gun on their faces. However, our president still does not see the effects of his actions, and he refuses to take responsibility for his terrible part in this heinous act. Trump’s job is to protect ALL Americans, but because of the president’s speech and Tweets, twelve individuals and many more Americans almost lost their lives. So in my opinion …. hate speech vs free speech is not the same. Hate speech is the speech of a coward.