A thought kept cropping up today, so I figured I would share:
I’m not being at all cynical or snide here. This is some real, fundamental, patriotism. Perhaps context is in order: Last night I got on the radio and just TALKED. I ripped on various governmental agencies for … basically … disagreeing with me. I called for changes to the laws of some of our towns and states. I mocked the majority religion in my very own country. I wasn’t allowed to sell stuff, to issue direct calls to action, or to cuss. That’s chump change: I mocked authority on the air for a full hour. Afterwards I laughed and walked to my car and drove home.
In Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and lots of other places – I would have been silenced before I began. In some of these places, I would have been killed.
Whatever we may say about our screwed up system and its screwed up partisans, let it be noted that there is no gun to my head. There is no gun to Bill O’Reilly’s head, and there is no gun to the head of any of the opposition. We are talking, and that’s perhaps more important than exactly what we are talking about.
It turns out that, to my complete surprise, I am a massive 1st amendment junkie. The first time I got in the studio – it took only a short time to realize that my words were being amplified. Sent into the community and out onto the web. When I post here on the blog – you have to click a link or something to “listen.” On the radio, people hitting “scan” might just stumble across me. The first time a caller rang the phone and wanted to respond to something that I had said – it was like a drug. I was initiating conversation. I was speaking, and even in the small community that can be reached by Brown Student Radio – there are people out there.
This is not a fluke of the current political climate, and it’s not an accident of any sort. The “freedom of speech” is core, critical, and fundamental to our society.
So go USA. Sometimes, we get things very, very right.