Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Freedom of Speech

With the impending inauguration of a new President, one that appears to be cut from a different cloth than our current one, maybe a different cloth than any in the last couple decades, it appears that more than just myself are reflecting on Freedom, and the ongoing fight to maintain or regain it right here in the good old USA. Neil Gaiman put down his credo a few weeks back; I could only fail to try to agree more. It's here; and well worth the time.

I often quote from the Alan Shepard speech in the movie "The American President" written by Aaron Sorkin (the full speech is here) when trying to express my own thoughts on our freedom:

America isn't easy. America, is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center-stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest." Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.

I also hear Al Franken, reading from one his books today, talking about the home of the brave, and how it is a mature love that liberals have for our country, to want it to be better and to own up to its mistakes. It takes a brave people to do that -- and that'd be us.

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