The freedom of speech is, at times, a hard pill to swallow, isn’t it?
I want my freedom to spout my beliefs, but if you spout yours and I find them offensive, well then, that’s just not ok.
Parisians seem emboldened by the last few days. Many are standing in the streets holding up signs saying “We are not afraid.”
As we should all be–NOT afraid. Not afraid to have beliefs. Not afraid to express them. Not afraid to walk down the street, holding hands with whomever we wish to hold hands with. Not afraid to speak a language that the majority of surrounding people are not speaking. Not afraid to worship in a building or in a religion of our own choosing. When we give in to the first nigglings of fear, we begin to erode the foundations of that perfect freedom. The one of the right to speak our minds. The one where we can think what we want about whatever or whomever we choose. Now, granted, along with this right comes responsibility. Responsibility to treat this freedom to speak our mind with care. Meaning, of course, it would be irresponsible and dangerous to yell “fire” in a crowded space just to see what would happen. Obviously. It would be irresponsible to taunt someone with words just because you wanted to get a rise out of them. That’s cruel. In my book.
The right to the freedom of speech also comes with the responsibility to treat others who disagree with you with compassion. And respect. To do anything differently dishonors yourself.
As those in Paris, and across the world, are saying this day: “Je suis Charli.”
“Je suis Charli.”
I am Charli.