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Is Freedom of Speech Really Free - Essay Example

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[Your full name] November 22, 2011 Is Freedom of Speech Really Free? It is the birth right of every human being to enjoy freedom of speech. The right to say and print whatsoever we wish to express is one of the basic rights that guarantee our respectable living as citizens of a country…
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Is Freedom of Speech Really Free

Download file to see previous pages... Kersch (2003, p.2) writes that, “American’s belief that freedom of speech is part of their national birthright, a birthright that sets the United States above other nations, has been a constant throughout U.S. history, as many foreign visitors have observed. But the scope of that freedom has shifted radically over the course of U.S. history.” This is a very sad and eye-opening statement which can better be understood after reading the following incident. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, delivered a speech recently in Washington, D.C. regarding the disappointment she was having in foreign leaders about respecting people’s freedom. Ray McGovern, who was a former CIA employee and a peace activist, attempted to make a protest against Hillary’s speech. He was put to silence after guards grabbed him; pulled him off cruelly; abused and double-cuffed him with metal handcuffs; and put him in jail, bleeding. Ray was abused because he opened his mouth while the Secretary of State was strongly assuring the citizens about the freedom of expression, in her speech. Ray shouted, “So, this is America?” while the cops dragged him away. The video footage can be seen on YouTube and the report by O’Connor (2011) can be read online. Is this the freedom of speech that our politicians guarantee us when they take our votes? This is nothing other than mere hypocrisy. Brad O’Leary’s book, Shut Up America!: The End of Free Speech, (2009) has beautifully explained that restrictions on freedom of thought and expression is very dangerous for our sustainability as a nation. He writes that, “In the 2008, Presidential Election, Congress issued no complaints about the content of television and print coverage of the race for the White House. But today’s congressional leaders want to punish talk radio for its critical coverage of television and print media bias” (p. ix). He asserts that today we do not enjoy free expression of ideas. A specific agenda is always forced on us making us believe that we are so unenlightened and provincial that we cannot understand our own good. They make us believe that we are not smart enough to be able to understand the difference between biased ideas and agendas and we cannot sort out things ourselves. We are told that we cannot form good opinions without their support, so we have to adopt their ideas and perspective to survive freely. “This group sees Americans as petulant children who refuse to eat their vegetables, and their solution is to forcefeed us what we clearly and definitely have rejected”, asserts O’Leary. A University of Florida student named Andrew Meyer asked some questions of Senator John Kerry in 2007 during a forum. He was constantly and excitedly trying to ask Kerry why he approved the 2004 election even after numerous reports of disenfranchisement of black voters and pre-prepared electronic-voting machines. Meyer was thought of being impolite and obnoxious. The police attacked him and eventually forced him to submit after Tasering him (FOXNews, 2007). Tasering means applying electric shock by means of a weapon which is used by police to control suspects. In the YouTube video, Meyer can be heard howling with pain, "Don't Tase me, bro, don't Tase me". What does this incident tell us about the freedom of speech? Is it really free? Certainly not. We can no more raise our voices. We cannot ask questions of our officials. We cannot say that we are not satisfied. We ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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