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Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Importance of Freedom of Speech

I'm currently in the middle of reading Mockingjay, which is the third in The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, and it's made me really reflect on freedom.

The freedoms we have (or don't have) are ones our society has decided upon through the centuries.  We don't always get to decide what we are and are not free to do (for example, look how long that only white men were allowed to vote- minorities and women have been able to vote in the U.S. for less than 100 years), and sometimes freedoms get taken away if those in power decide we should not have them for whatever reason.

I feel that the most important freedom we have is the freedom of speech.  Hopefully, it is a freedom that will never be taken away from us.

Freedom of speech is the most important of freedoms because, with freedom of speech, we can share information, ideas, and knowledge.  As cliche as it may sound, knowledge is power.  "The pen is mightier than the sword."  (I wish I could remember who said that- Abraham Lincoln? Benjamin Franklin?  I don't remember.)  Giving up freedom of speech means giving up true freedom.  Could you imagine not being allowed to say what you believe in?  Or being persecuted for saying something against the government that rules us?

That's one thing I love about living in this country (there's a lot of things, but this one particularly): being in a country where we are allowed to voice opinions and beliefs contrary to those of the powers that be and change things for the better.  We can learn and grow, see the mistakes of the past, and stand up against them to create a better world, one more towards equality.  The reason the slaves were emancipated, the reason women gained the right to vote, and even the reason we are no longer a British territory goes back to one small group voicing their opinion for what is right and standing up to change things.  I encourage people to always voice their opinion, even if it differs from my own.  I'll be completely blunt and say that if a person voices an opinion (be it agreeing or disagreeing with my own) that is completely not backed by any reasons, I'll encourage them to do some research and really think about why they believe what they believe.  I believe that a person who does not know why he or she believes what he or she believes doesn't really believe it, but is just regurgitating what he or she has been told.

Another reason why I'm so grateful for freedom of speech is because I am a writer.  Maybe I'm not a known writer (yet), but I am allowed to write my stories any way I choose.  If I wanted to, I could even write a fictional book about President Obama falling in love with a bowl of petunias that turn out to actually be a spy from another planet sent down to study earthlings in order to take over our planet, but the bowl of petunias surprises itself when it realizes it loves Obama in return, even though its species does not have emotions so it does not understand what this "love" is but it's very conflicted over its new desire to save earth while remaining loyal to its own species.  (I could write it, but I won't.  I don't want to, and I doubt anyone would read it.)

On that note, I am really happy with how my second book is turning out.  It's called "Reflections in the Window," and it's a thriller.  I'm trying to write it so that the reader won't be able to tell if the house Rachel (my main character) is housesitting is actually haunted, or if it's just her imagination playing tricks on her.  I'm hoping readers will guess and ponder up until the end when I give the reveal.  We'll see how it comes out, but I think it'll be better than The Secret Room when it's done.  :)

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