As we prepare to celebrate our American freedoms with Fourth of July celebrations on Sunday, we would do well to remind ourselves to truly embrace the freedoms we claim to be so fundamental to our national character and dear to our hearts. In times of war, especially unpopular ones, and political posturing we?re tempted to be less tolerant of the voices of criticism and opposition in our land.
We don?t have to like the political views we hear, whether they originate in the national media or the local coffee shop. But freedom of speech means those people have the right to be voice them. It also means we are free to voice our disagreement with them?and even better, engage the speaker in respectful dialogue rather than putdowns and intimidation.
Though French in origin, the approach of the respected philosopher Voltaire in the 18th century should be the creed for every freedom-cherishing American today: ?I disapprove of what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.?
Anything less is hypocrisy. ?DR