Submitted by Batya Casper, Sep 24, 2012 13:45
Thanks to Karen Lugo for her direct and honest thinking. She points out that "Military families, Christians, Jews, tea party activists, and various other groups must suffer insult with a stiff upper lip so that discourse can run the full range of parody and ridicule" - as so it should be, and reminds us that free speech is the gift of our free society. It provides us with a climate for the unfettered interchange of ideas. That is true. Yet, in this interchange of ideas, it is essential for all to examine every statement or point of view, however slanderous, for what they are. American liberty requires rigorous, thoughtful inquiry. It requires vigilance. Sadly, instead of availing ourselves of one of the greatest human rights, we have grown lazy. We have allowed slander and hate to be slapped around like mud over entire sections of society, over races and countries - absent of honest scrutiny, dialogue, or vigilance. Freedom does not give us the right to ban expression, but it does oblige us to be honest and thoughtful in our assessments.
The barbarism that has grasped center stage since 9/11 is confronting us with the end result of our intellectual lethargy. This should be a wake up call for the west. Free speech is not part of a kid's goody bag like balloons or toy guns, it is a responsibility, an obligation to hear differing opinions, to consider them honestly for what they are, and to take note. We of the West have not taken note.