Free Speech vs. Kindness

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I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again- Why can’t we all just get along?

Between folks who are poor sports when their teams lose (or win), folks who think someone not standing during the national anthem is a crisis, and folks who are very opinionated about their choice for the next President it seems like everyone is very angry.  It gets tiring going on social media and seeing nothing but strongly worded, even hateful language directed at people who, in most cases, they don’t know personally.  Freedom of speech is truly a beautiful thing, but just because you CAN say something doesn’t mean you SHOULD, especially if you don’t know the whole story.

As a white woman there is no way I can have any idea what life has been like for a black man or a Latino woman and it would be extremely pompous of me to assume I did.  Neither can I have any idea what it was like to grow up in New York City or Miami or Chicago-  I grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota.   Yet it seems like a lot of folks have no trouble yelling from the mountain tops that this candidate, professional athlete, or other public figure “hates America” , or is ignorant of some special kind of truth they assume is universal.

PLEASE, I beg of everyone, think two or thee times before sharing a hateful post or writing one of your own.  Imagine for a minute how you would feel if you had been treated badly or looked down upon your entire life for something you have no control over, like your skin color or place you were raised.  Imagine for a moment how you would feel if you were a family member of a candidate or any other public figure who sees their loved one being called every imaginable ugly name possible simply because they disagree with them over political ideology.  Imagine for a moment the lessons you are teaching your kids or other young people in your life by spreading anger and hate every day.  Is that really how you want them to behave?  I bet not.

It’s OK to disagree without being disagreeable.  It’s OK – great even- to have compassion for your fellow man.  It’s OK – great even- to celebrate the good things in life and to share those with the same amount of passion and fire as the things that make you upset.  So why don’t we?


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