Freedom Of Speech Is Not Freedom From Disagreement

Freedom Of Speech Is Not Freedom From Disagreement

You have the right to say what you want. I have the right to tell you you're wrong.
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I've been hearing a lot since the election about how the "liberals" need to shut up and get over it, that Trump won and everyone who didn't vote for him just needs to accept it. People are angry with protesters and demonstrators and everyone is attacking everyone else for voicing their opinions. So, on that note: freedom of speech. Let's talk about this. Because the amount of hypocrisy I've been seeing lately is driving me mad, and I just want people to realize what they're saying when they claim freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech protects your right to voice your opinion. It protects your right to celebrate your candidate's win, and it protects the right of anyone who's candidate didn't win to say they don't like it. It protects our right to say what we want about any candidate or person or country, with a few small exceptions.

So yes, you can claim freedom of speech and say that Trump is great. You can do the same and say that he is Satan. You can use freedom of speech to stand on a public sidewalk and say that he is not your president. You can also use freedom of speech to tell that person to get over it.

It's freedom of speech. For everyone. Regardless of whether or not you agree. Freedom of speech protects what you say, your expression of your beliefs. It protects your right to say what you think, and unfortunately that means it protects your right to yell at anyone who disagrees with you. It does not, however, protect you from having to hear anyone else's opinions. It does not protect you from having people disagree with you.

You can use freedom of speech to state your thoughts, no matter how derogatory, kind, biased, unbiased, or insane they might be. What you cannot do is this: claim freedom of speech for yourself and then get offended when others do the same to voice a different opinion.

You may not utilize the power of freedom of speech to silence the voices of others. If you have the right to your opinion and to voice it as actively or aggressively as you choose, then everyone else has that same right.

You may, if you choose, tell people to go back to Africa. You can yell at immigrants, you can yell slurs at LGBTQ+ people. That makes you an objectively awful person with no compassion or empathy, but sure, you could do that. But if you choose to do these things, you do not get to be offended or annoyed or even remotely uncomfortable if, as I just have, someone calls you a terrible person.

You are protected in your right to say awful things. You are protected in your right to say things that marginalize and dehumanize minority groups. You are even protected in your right to remain silent and not comment on others who do those things. But here's the thing I think a lot of people are confused about. I am equally protected in my right to call you out on it.

We have freedom of speech in this country. You can say what you want, and if I choose to, I can say that you are wrong. And neither of us can tell the other person they cannot do so.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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American Or Christian?

Can you really be both?

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This is a thought that has lingered in my mind for a very long time.

Personally, I hate news and politics. It's depressing and it seems like both parties (and people in general) just don't get it. Political conversation gets on my ever-loving nerves and literally gets me down in the dumps for the day.

I just simply don't watch it anymore. There is too much negativity.

That doesn't mean that I am uniformed. I am not advocating for ignorance or anything like that. I prefer to read and figure out my information from sites "in the middle."

As I was eating dinner with my wife the other day we started talking about the new Abortion laws in Alabama and Georgia. As a Christ-follower and a staunch defender of Biblical inerrant, I detest abortion.

Before you read any farther, you must understand something: This article is not about my defense of my beliefs regarding hot topics like abortion or homosexuality. I do not have the time to write about said topics now. I am just asking you to accept what I believe for the sake of the article.

But, anyway, these abortion bills. I can make a pretty good case that they are Constitutional because they are protecting the Life (one of the Rights given to American Citizens) from others. Yes, I know the arguments against said point but continue with me please.

This led our conversation to talk about Homosexual marriage, something that I am against as well. And not just because of Leviticus but because of the New Testament as well.

But, shaking my head, I said something that my wife seemed to agree with:

"As a Christian, I know it's wrong and I cannot agree with it. As an American, I see no reason why it should be illegal. Unless your choices infringe someone's Rights, you should be free to do what you wish (technically speaking)."

This is my dilemma. Well, actually it's not a dilemma. I know that I am a Christian before I am an American. I love this country greatly, and I know how blessed I am to be born here. For all the hate this country gets (and some of it is deserved) and all the problems we have (and we have a lot), we are shoulders above other countries in many ways. I am so thankful for all the men and women who have served to protect me and keep me safe. I'm thankful for a lot of things. And I am proud to be an American.

But my identity in Christ comes first. This is why I do not get into politics much. I don't really care at the end of the day. Because while America has been blessed, we still have work to do here. And this is not my forever home. This is not where I will spend eternity.

I try and respect everyone's opinions, and I earnestly try to love everyone, even when they trash and disrespect my beliefs and convictions. But I must put my call to Christ about anything that has to do with this nation. I will pray for ALL our leaders because I was told to do so (I prayed for President Obama when he was in office). And I will be here to support this nation. But I cannot put it above Christ's commands.

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