The first amendment to the United States Consitition reads as follows:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
We have been in an historically interesting time. I say historically because in a few decades, I predict this time will have a name, a titled era if you will. I am not entirely sure what the focus will be, but socially and politically, the 2010s have been rough. The last few months, however, one of the most frustrating things to me has been the use of the phrase "freedom of speech."
According to the first amendment above, freedom of speech in the United States is really just about disallowing the government from infringing on your right to speak, write, and protest freely. You are also allowed to suggest grievances with the government. Yet, in conversation on and offline, so many individuals say harsh things and follow them up with, "freedom of speech."
Freedom of speech does not apply when you are being hateful. It does not work when you are putting down others or spouting out insults, threats, or snide comments.
Freedom of speech does not work if all you have to say is negative. Yes, you are free to say it but that does not always mean you should.
Freedom of speech does not work if you are citing incorrect facts or points. Yes, you are free to tell people what happened "last night in Sweden," but that purposefully sways your listeners in a direction that does not exist.
Opinions are not facts. Hateful comments are not logic statements. Disagreeing with someone simply because you do not like them is not sensible.
Donald Trump is a classic bad example of all of this. Many voters and supporters found his "freedom of speech" discourse refreshing. They found the way he "said what he wanted," to be real and new for a candidate. What they did not realize is that most of this speech was false. It was insulting, illogical combinations of words and made-up facts from a mind so delusional that it believes them to be true. That was "refreshing," apparently. You can lean one way or another when it comes to politics, economics, education, etc. You can have your opinions and beliefs in these realms and vote for whomever you see as the best fit. That is your right. However, you cannot do so and claim "freedom of speech" for neo-Nazis and hypocritical crooks. A country whose foundation rests upon the liberties and rights to all cannot move forward, or even continue to exist, when tyranny, authoritarian political figures, and literary bigots begin to sway the hive mind it rests upon.
I will not talk about the double standard of a black candidate or a woman were to "speak their mind" in national news television, but you can imagine that for yourself.