I Love Me Some Freedom Of Speech
The US Constitution is a wonderful document. It creates and describes the structure of our government, and it simultaneously limits that government to prevent its interference with my inherent rights. Some of those rights are outlined and described in the first 10 amendments, also known as the Bill of Rights, as I’m sure you know.
All of those rights are important, but my current favorite is the first amendment, specifically because of its guarantee that I, as a citizen and as a human being, am guaranteed freedom speech. Of course, the amendment covers the free exercise of religion, of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Man, those are some powerful words! But let’s concentrate on the freedom of speech bit for just a moment.
Recent events in my life have caused me to relish that freedom and to exercise it, some might say, to excess. In fact, my first post was going to be a post about how much my Mom rocks. For Mother’s Day, you know, but instead I had to spend the weekend exercising my freedom of speech to great effect while watching someone else exercise hers to great detriment.
See, that’s the best part of any of our rights, really. It’s up to me to be responsible in how I make use of it, not the government. Now, some people erroneously believe that the guarantee of freedom of speech means they can say anything they want, anytime they want, about anything they want. That’s what I’ve been dealing with for the past several months, and it all culminated on Friday.
I’ve been having some problems with a neighbor. I won’t go into great detail here, because that argument has already taken place elsewhere, both online and off, but I’ll describe the highlights.
I had a falling out with a “friend” a couple of months ago. She, as a result of our falling out, decided to make outrageous claims in an attempt to besmirch my reputation among my friends and neighbors. I complained, to little avail. I was told by the “powers that be”, that there was nothing that could be done because, you see, this person had her freedom of speech.
Huh, I thought, that’s a good point. Even though every word that comes out of her mouth is an atrocious lie, she does have the freedom to be a liar. And, since her lies didn’t really affect me all that much, I stopped complaining. I mean, I know there are laws against harassment, libel and slander, but really, they’re kind of “no harm, no foul” laws, so why try to exercise them when no measurable harm has occurred?
So I decided to exercise my freedom of speech instead. Oh, trouble! That’s the funny thing about some people, those people who think they can say and do whatever without consequence. They never seem to recognize what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. So, of course, though she went around spreading malicious lies about me, she complained when I told the complete truth about her. Yes, we do live in topsy-turvy world.
When her stupidity went beyond words to actions I thought, “Now I can do something about it.” But no! The same powers that be shut me down. So I exercised my freedom of speech again, to complain to the powers above the powers that be. And, eventually, my argument fell on non-deaf ears and there were consequences.
Some people never learn.
For a while there was peace, but then I found out the same old lies were being told about me by the same old person in the same old fashion. And this time, though the powers that be had argued for her freedom of speech, they were now acting as if they same freedom didn’t apply to anyone else. Strange, I thought. I don’t remember reading about the constitutionally guaranteed right to a double standard. I took up my pen again, and exercised my freedom to point out the hypocrisy of this policy and was once again rewarded for my actions.
But here I said I wasn’t going to give details and I’m getting into…details. Let’s just say I took on my attacker and she upped her game. I invited her to. I practically begged her to. And she responded admirably. She accused me of outlandish crimes, even went so far as to claim she’d gone to the police and filed a report. She told someone I must be “terrified” because she had some serious dirt on me. See, by the tenor of my post, how terrified I am?
Now, rather than wait around for the police to show up, I decided to call them myself. I called on Friday, when the alleged report was made. Funny, they had no record of it. Just in case, I called again today. No record of any report made by my attacker. No record of any report made against me. Either she’s lying about going to the cops, or the police didn’t take her seriously enough to even file any paperwork.
I guess it was just another bogus expression of free speech. But here’s the really funny thing. The same person, in her eagerness to “terrify” me with false claims, actually admitted to committing two separate crimes online, which as far as I know, is as good as a confession, since it was made in a “recordable” medium of her own free will. Her crimes? She allegedly scanned my hard drives when she was only given permission to access my apartment to feed my cat. And, she claims to have hidden a listening device in the bushes of our apartment building courtyard, in direct violation of Washington state law.
Relating all this is really a roundabout way of making a point, and that point is this: all our rights are also responsibilities. Sure, you can say whatever you want, but sometimes there are consequences to your actions when you do. It’s up to you to decide when to express yourself, and when discretion is the better part of valor, and thank God we live in a country where that is true!
What a wonderful truth that I, not the government, not my neighbor, am responsible for my own actions and behavior. For my own words. And that’s really what this blog is all about: exercising my freedom of speech to speak out about what I consider important in my beloved country, of which I am so proud, and want to remain so.
I won’t be cowed by the accusations, lies or truth-bending of anyone. Not my neighbor, not my enemies, not my government and not the media. I will continue to speak the truth, here and elsewhere, until my voice is heard.