First Amendment: Freedom Of Speech

Have you ever noticed that the opposition to free speech and the labeling of “discrimination” consistently comes from those who want to silence our voices so that their voices and their agenda are the only ones to be heard?  They want the exclusive right to the public forum—the exclusive right to speak and to be heard.  So, their “push for tolerance” results in the “intolerance” of our views.  Their position is the only acceptable position. 

So, this raises the question:  How do freedom of speech and political correctness interface?  Let’s explore that question by beginning with a brief history lesson.

The Founding Fathers came from countries on the other side of the ocean where freedom of speech was only for the rich and powerful.  Believing that every person had value and dignity, they wanted to directly address the issue of freedom of speech in the United States Constitution.  They believed that people needed to be able to freely share their ideas and views so they would be citizens rather than subjects.  In the First Amendment to the Constitution, the Founders wrote:

“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech….”

In other words, every person is entitled to his opinions, perspectives, and ideas. 

To begin to explore the relationship between freedom of speech and political correctness, permit me to ask a hypothetical question.  If a particular group or groups in this country wished to undermine and ultimately remove the right to free speech–and perhaps remove the Constitution itself–what would be an effective approach? 

Knowing that Americans value equality and fairness, could those values be turned on their heads and be sold as “political correctness?”  That is, in order to be fair to everyone, every opinion, perspective, goal, and lifestyle should be equal.  Never mind if that opinion, perspective, goal, or lifestyle were destructive to the basic framework of this society or were diametrically opposed to the principles on which this country was founded.  The sales pitch would be:  Fairness and equality are the “highest good.”

The recent dust-up between the A&E television station and Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson is a perfect example of the conflict between freedom of speech and political correctness.  When Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson expressed his personal belief in the Biblical definition of marriage—marriage being between a man and a woman–as opposed to the secular creation of same sex marriage, A&E fired Phil Roberson for exercising free speech instead of being politically correct. 

Soon thereafter, when the voice of the American people was heard and the station realized that both freedom of speech and traditional marriage are valued by the majority of Americans, they backed down.  Phil Robertson and the American people rejected political correctness and reclaimed their Constitutional right to free speech.

In the July 15 edition of The Washington Times, Dr. Ben Carson, a nationally renowned neurosurgeon, pointed out that freedom of speech and the basic foundational framework of this society are being attacked by the enforcement of political correctness.  He stated,

 “Political correctness, which is vigorously enforced…imposes a code of silence that prevents discussion of the game-changing alteration of our fundamental social pillars.”

These pillars include freedom of speech and the traditional family structure.

When equality and fairness are turned on their heads and political correctness—rather than honest dialogue–is the new standard, civil conversation and differences of opinion are replaced by coercion. And speaking of coercion, have you noticed how the IRS, NSA, and the media are working to define and mandate how you are to live and how you are to speak?  Our personal freedoms including the First Amendment are being threatened.

When I took my oath as a military officer and later as a State Representative, I committed to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic.  Our politicians have taken that same oath.  However, instead of honoring the Constitution, the majority of them are yielding to political correctness. They have become part of the problem rather than the solution.  Being in both the military and politics, I am disgusted and dismayed with those who capitulate to political correctness for the sake of personal gain.  They are betraying their oath and undermining the principles on which this country was founded.

This country was built on religious principles. President John Adams said,

 “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.”

President George Washington stated, 

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports…and let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”

Our country was built on Biblical principles.  The groups demanding political correctness want not only to remove freedom of speech and to replace traditional marriage with alternate lifestyles, but also to eliminate religion itself.  If they can remove religion as well as our Constitutional rights based on religious principles, they will have removed our personal freedoms and destroyed this nation.

Franklin Graham sums it up when he says,

“Political correctness is not so much a cultural war, but a religious war against Christians and the Biblical truths that we stand for.”

So, the bottom line is:  We need more men and women who are courageous, fearless, and unwavering in their determination to exercise their right to free speech. All of us must refuse to be silenced by the ploy of political correctness.  As President George Washington so aptly stated over two centuries ago,

 “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led like sheep to the slaughter.”

It is time to shun political correctness and dismiss the notion that having a difference of opinion is automatically discriminatory.  This is a free country.  The First Amendment of our Constitution guarantees each and every one of us the right to free speech.  We must unabashedly, unapologetically exercise that right and speak the truth.