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.