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Freedom of Speech? Is that thinking before you speak?

 

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Have you ever said something that you regretted? Speech is God’s gift to mankind. Through speech a human being conveys his thoughts, sentiments and feeling to others. Freedom of speech and expression is thus a natural right, which a human being acquires at birth. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek and receive and impart information and ideas through any medium and regardless of challenges.

Man, as a rational being desires to do many things, but in a civil society his motives have to be controlled, regulated and reconciled to match desires of society. Words may come back to haunt you some day if your thought process is not aligned.

On a personal level l have never hesitated to express the way l feel about an issue or comment on expressing my opinion. I may comment on something without thinking about it, but with discretion and respect to the listener. However, in todays environment l find myself thinking before l comment, especially depending on who my audience is. They call it being politically correct, but l call it muzzling to control what you can and can’t say. Often, many folks decide not to comment, and they have the right to say nothing reserving the freedom to speak or give your opinion on certain issues. This suppression builds up frustration and will boil over and explode at some point.

What one wants to express, stays unsaid because it is easier to say nothing and avoid any consequences resulting from your opinion. More often than not folks will not say anything to avoid confrontation and/or avoid getting branded with a position. I have found myself in that predicament on occasion and it would have been easier and less complicated to say nothing, rather than give my opinion on the topic. This is a prime example of personal suppression of my freedom of speech, and l must say, when that happens to me…. l truly feel like the system has won. This elimination of thoughts and holding back my opinion is happening much more often and with frequency.

The silent majority of thought is much bigger than you may expect and not healthy to have such a large percentage of the population feel this way. As this faction of the population appear to find common ground, they congregate around each other and form underground groups that take to the airwaves and try to fight back better known as the black underground propaganda fighters. The best example that l can give you is this trucker convoy that we are experiencing and working through. There are many folks who agree with this protest and many want to put down their stake in the ground on this issue of freedom of speech, but many have not come out because of fear of repercussions.

The Federal government passed the emergencies act this week providing far reaching power to restrict what protesters believe and has contributed to the protests. They have the power to freeze your accounts and monitor other aspects of your life. There are folks that l personally know that have contributed to this fund, mainly because of the freedom of speech issue and are now feeling that because they gave a contribution, they may be flagged. These same people have told me that moving forward they will not get involved or participate…. sad but true.

This protest which started with the truckers here in Canada has escalated worldwide with other countries adopting the same methods to drive home the point about Covid-19 and its restrictions… has brought the freedom of speech issue to the forefront of the discussion. The big question that most are asking themselves is whether freedom of speech still exists, and will you be penalized if you speak your mind or protest in a peaceful manner. These questions are at the root of this discussion and should not be swept under the carpet. We should be made to feel safe especially in this country when it comes to freedom of expression and what it really stands for.

Protest empowers communities to stand up to injustice, influence decision makers and play an active part in democracy between elections. However, these protesters or their supporters gained great momentum over the past three weeks. The government’s move has sent shock waves through the system… especially when the government can freeze your bank account without a court order. These moves truly make you think twice about getting involved and risk your livelihood by standing your ground or taking a position.

Many folks are being targeted because they get involved and speak their minds in a lawful and peaceful way. However, this group is getting smaller because of the backlash being severe and not worth the trouble of speaking up.

As much as you may feel that we live in a free country with freedom of speech…. you may want to think twice about saying what you really think.

Vince Nigro/MS

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