Personal speech under democracy and dictatorship
Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom — and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech. Benjamin Franklin
Personal views and ideas
We all have them. We have hundreds if not millions a day! We're like a manufacturing plant of ideas. Our beliefs, biases, experiences, and information are the raw materials that go in, and our ideas come out. I'm a writer, so I like my ability to share my ideas freely. You don't have to like them, read them, or agree with them, but I'm allowed to share them freely with few limitations. That is part of the foundation of our democracy and one of the primary differences between our country and a country led by a dictator.
Russia is such a country. In the news yesterday, it was announced that if you wrote or published anything about the aggression in Ukraine other than the party line, you would be subject to a fifteen-year prison sentence. The government also cut off access to the internet to limit the citizens' access to other opinions. I believe this doesn't seem right.
However, like all Americans, I have feet of historical clay. Our history is riddled with attempts to demonize those who don't believe the way we do, who look different, or have other countries of origin. It's something we should be ashamed of and fight against daily in our lives. Separation and segregation are wrong and should never be a part of a free democracy. In Little Rock, Arkansas, I watched the brave young people who helped defeat segregation by integrating the high school. It wasn't easy. But it was a huge step forward.
We should relish diversity, learn from others, and find the common road to build our democracy into a strong union of souls who believe in the freedoms we hold dear.
It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them. Mark Twain