This shouldn't be controversial

Speech is such an important thing to me. It is the most important value a society can recognize for free people to stay that way. 

This weekend, there is a controversial speech event I will be participating in at the Boston Common. There is a small handful of us going, and we are not affiliated with any group at all.

We denounce extremism of all sorts. White supremacy—or any supremacy—is something all good people condemn. Nazi ideology, the KKK, Communists, any group that centers around hate or the eradication of another group needs to be openly and publicly condemned wherever they show (or mask) their faces. With that said, we must resist the temptation to restrict the speech of any group due to the content of their beliefs.

Most of us will universally condemn these extremist ideologies. Unfortunately, there are those among us willing to use violence or government in an attempt to silence extremism. This strategy also needs to be condemned, because it is just as extreme as the speech we seek to silence. Those who resort to violence end up in the same category as the extremists.

The answer should be for good people of all walks of life to come out in full force in response to hatred, bigotry, and racism. I’m going to this event because I want to add a voice of peace and reason to counter the growing chorus of hatred coming from all sides. I have faith that among all the groups attending, there will be other cool heads preaching a similar message of tolerance and peace.

Regarding those groups we all universally condemn: Every human has the potential for change, and to change. If extremist groups are suppressed to the point where they cannot be ridiculed in public, they are forced to meet in underground circles far away from reasonable people. Suppressed people, it doesn’t matter who they are or what they believe, will become resentful. Once speech is effectively suppressed, the only recourse extremists will have remaining is terrorism and violence.

Any time we hear of hate groups openly displaying or marching in public, let it be a call for those who believe in marriage and racial equality to speak up; those of us who believe that black lives DO matter to come out; and everyone in general that opposes hate be seen. Together, and only together, can we prove to the extremists not only are we not scared of their hate, but that we also refuse to stand for it.

 

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”

― Francis of AssisiThe Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi

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  • commented 2017-08-19 21:52:08 -0400
    I worked hard to find news articles listing all the likely speakers at the Boston demonstration. And then I worked to find out what those speakers might have said, had they been able to speak to the crowd. I don’t believe in shouting down any of them, and I do believe in condemning (verbally) many of them. But I honor the sentiments in your well-titled essay above: “This shouldn’t be controversial!” It makes me sad that no one got to hear what you might have said, and it makes me sadder that as a result, you (and probably others I haven’t learned about yet) are lumped in with the truly contemptible would-have-been speakers on the roster. No one should assume anything about my political views based on this post — other than my universal support for free speech.