Freedom of Speech

5 Mar

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I recently started a history class for the university I’m attending, and I actually was paying attention while reading about history.  I used to find it boring and time-consuming, now I find it interesting.  What still baffles me is how slavery ever existed in the first place.  Maybe I can say that now because of the era I live in, but I still don’t think equality is 100% pure, which is sad.  I know racism and sexism is still alive today.  I just wonder if it will ever die. 

I get seriously angry when I read about these times in history; slavery, and radicals and abolitionists being beat and murdered for their rights and fighting for slaves’ freedom.  I was reading about a man names Thaddeus Stevens, 73 years old in 1865, who was the leading radical in the House of Representatives during the reconstruction period.  Born with a clubfoot, he identified with those outside the social mainstream.  He was a masterful parliamentarian known for his honesty and sarcastic wit.  He became a compelling spokesman for abolition and an uncompromising advocate of equal rights for African Americans.  From the beginning of the war, he urged that the slaves be not only freed but also armed to fight the Confederacy.

Even after the Emancipation Proclamation was passed, freed people weren’t given their rights.  Abolitionists throughout the North began to argue that emancipation would be meaningless unless the government guaranteed the civil and political rights of the former slaves. So, some Republicans expanded their definition of war objectives to include abolishing slavery, extending citizenship for the former slaves and guaranteeing the equality of all citizens before the law.  At the time, these were extreme views on abolition and equal rights, and the people who held them were called Radical Republicans, or Radicals. 

Can you believe the idea of equal rights was considered radical?  Perhaps some still consider it radical today.  I consider it common sense.  I’d consider it a given that all men were created equal.  This idea people had about having African Americans as slaves just disgusts me.  I read stories of the slaves that stole their freedom by just walking away from their “masters” and I applaud them.  I respect the men, like Thaddeus Stevens, Frederick Douglass, and Charles Sumner for having the courage and decency to fight for what they believe in, no matter what the cost. 

I started to wonder about all the great men we have lost by murder, by assassination; Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln, John Lennon.  I wondered if “freedom of speech” is actually free.  At what cost did we earn it?  If we have freedom of speech, how come it seems like no one is talking?  How come it seems like every good man who has something good to say or do gets assassinated?  Are there just too many shitty people out there to let some great ones exist?  Evil and lesser men can’t stand the thought of good ideas being spread?  God forbid an intelligent, powerful person exists and lives. 

Even worse, I don’t remember the last good speech I heard a man (or woman) give.  I hope a revolutionary person comes soon, Lord knows we need one.  As for me, I know I’m going to say as much sh*t as I can before I die.

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One Response to “Freedom of Speech”

  1. crankycaregiver March 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    Ending racism and discrimination starts right here..with us. Teaching our kids that all human beings are the same and to be kind to everyone is the only way to end the centuries of hate and fear.

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