At the risk of sounding like a grade-school essay question, I must ask, “what does independence mean to you?”
A few short years ago, the answer from most people would likely resemble the Webster’s definition.
in·de·pen·dent | \ ˌin-də-ˈpen-dənt \
1: not dependent: such as
a(1): not subject to control by others : SELF-GOVERNING
These days, you would probably receive a variety of answers, from daring to be different to one of many “phobics” currently bantered about.
However, most of these simplistic definitions barely scratch the surface when it comes to true experiences exemplifying fundamental “Independence”. Take for instance, this example: According to a recent story in the New York Post, Clinical Psychologist, author and speaker Jordan Peterson has, “reportedly been suspended from
Twitter following a post about transgender actor Elliot Page that broke the platform’s rules “against hateful conduct.”
Screenshots posted online show the tweet in question from the Canadian clinical psychologist’s account,
which reads: “Remember when pride was a sin? And Ellen Page just had her breasts removed by a criminal physician.” Page came out as transgender in 2020, announcing he would now be known as Elliot.
Peterson, 60, is guilty of “deadnaming” the 25-year-old “Umbrella Academy” star, a source close to the Oscar-nominated actor told The Post.” Almost instantly, Peterson’s account was suspended.
Was Peterson wrong? Or was he right?
Should he be allowed to speak what he knew to be true without an attack lacking even the simplest of refutation? After all, wasn’t he exercising his “freedom of speech?” Those questions do not even come into play, because that is not the focus of his attackers. Jordan joins only one of many facing repercussion for daring to stand out from the collective crowd. Coming under fire for differing opinions are the very circumstances that once sparked the realization that we needed to escape from British rule so long ago.
We must ask ourselves an important question in America, 2022: Is restricted, restrained, and controlled speech still considered free speech?
That such a concern should be raised, no one should be surprised; after all, it’s been a long time coming. While some of us are only now just recently grasping the concept, others have known about it for years. In America, the first amendment has now become more of a guideline rather than a rule.
In other words, while you certainly have the right to say whatever you want, get ready to be unfriended,
uninvited, maligned, ridiculed, harassed, insulted, belittled, disowned, disconnected, threatened, talked about, shamed, attacked, beaten, stabbed, shot, and yes, even murdered. In America, while you are
entitled to HAVE your own opinion, you are not as entitled to VOICE your own opinion.
Consider this: There was a time in America that certain individuals technically had the right to vote. However, if they dared to exercise it, many of the same punishments I just listed were applied. In the name of progress, here we are again. Unfortunately, these so-called punishments are now carried out by the same group of individuals that once suffered persecution! Clearly, “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
The High Price of Freedom
It seems as though the high price once paid for “free speech” is now ignored. Worse yet, it is replaced with the toxic rhetoric and fascist commentary masquerading as such.
To be honest, I personally don’t care if you think, feel, act, or believe the way I do; I appreciate that type of diversity, because I can learn from you, and you in turn from me. However, when you have the desire to ridicule, harass, insult, belittle, disown, unfriend, disconnect from, separate from, threaten, shame, attack, beat, stab, shoot, and yes, even murder those who don’t think, act, vote, dress, live, look, stand for, support what you do, or believe what you believe, Houston; we have a problem.
When Samuel Francis Smith wrote “America (My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee) in 1831, he clearly understood the gravity of the words he wrote. For millions of Americans over 40, they still remember singing that song in school, hand over heart, directly after reciting the “Pledge of Allegiance” to our flag. Yet, for all who remember its words, most have no idea what its opening line means.
In proper context, it literally refers to our country; in other words, “your country is of you!” It is true that for all Americans, America, considered by many to be the greatest nation in the world, is indeed a part of each and every one of us. When she suffers, we all suffer. When those that hate her tear down her legacy-honoring statues and monuments, we should all take it personally.
As such, when those in power speak of her in derogatory and disparaging tones mainly on mainstream media
outlets like CNN & MSNBC, we should feel equally maligned.
How Great Thou Art?
Let’s face it. America is no longer respected and revered as she once was. Gone to many are the history lessons echoing her majesty and greatness. Gone as well are the educators singing the praises of her great legacy. Please don’t misunderstand; this did not happen because those that berated her were so successful in their messaging, but rather because those that claimed to loved her failed to profess that love.
Don’t get it twisted; America’s values are based on God’s values. These are the same principles by which she was founded on. As such, we have God given, or “inalienable rights” to stand as one or many to defend what we believe.
Many appear to be under the impression that we could never be a country where freedom of speech is forbidden. But shockingly, we aren’t far from it. For us to maintain the level of freedom we have enjoyed for the past two centuries, we must continue to pay. After all, independence has a price. And it’s not a comfortable one.