Our Most Precious Gift…Free Speech

Our Most Precious Gift...Free Speech

My mother grew morning glories that spilled onto the walkway…

Dear Readers,

This week I am celebrating one of my children and thus my time for this essay is limited. But every time one of you responds to what I say, I AM GRATEFUL. And more and more I relish, applaud, am grateful for FREE SPEECH. Just imagine where I would be if I lived in a country that scanned my every word and maybe came to the door for me. FREE SPEECH is a gift we all need to celebrate every day. It doesn’t matter if your thing is recipes or film reviews, or telling jokes or sharing videos. Free speech flows in the USA like the morning glories in the photo. YOU SAY WHAT YOU WANT in the United States of America and not fear that someone will try to stop you. At least not yet. I just saw a video of ICE taking a man out of an elevator by force. The man was not allowed to show his papers. ICE did not show theirs. WRONG.

So let’s make a point of every day, in this great country, that no matter how someone else’s words might not fit with yours, that person has a right to say it. You have a right to say how you feel, what you believe.

RECENT LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, LA TIMES

The following are excerpts. This reveals that the LA TIMES will print both sides. Newspapers believe in freedom of the press–usually. I confess, they are selective. But that doesn’t mean that my letter will always be printed or that the opposing view will too. Space creates limits.

  • This phrase (enemy of the people) has been used by the most notorious of world dictators in the Soviet Union, China, Nazi Germany and even in the United States under Richard Nixon…Any time a journalist in the U. S. or abroad is harassed, threatened, harmed, imprisoned or even killed, those Americans who actually believe in the freedom of the press will recall the insidious characterization of reporters by (this administration) to their everlasting shame.
  • Democracy demands an informed public, not one that is titillated or pandered to. Trump evidently sees democracy and the rules of law as mere impediments.
  • The media have been on an unending campaign agains the president. The bias is breathtaking. They desperately need a devil’s advocate, someone to challenge what they say before it goes public.

FREE SPEECH IN ALL ITS GLORY

Being a writer, I have published some of my work and spend much of my time, writing, teaching myself how to become a better writer and exposing myself to THE BEST. All of this comes under the heading of FREE SPEECH. Unlike Russian writers or those hounded and persecuted in other countries, I don’t fear the use of my words. Literature, essays, poetry–all forms are available to me. Thus to end this piece today, I share two poems with you. The first appeared in a recent issue of TIME MAGAZINE that included many essays about our southern states. This poem is so awesome, I wanted to share it.

FOREDAY IN THE MORNIING     by Jericho Brown, a Louisiana native and the author of The New Testament and Please 

My mother grew morning glories that spilled onto the walkway toward her porch

Because she was a woman with land who showed as much by giving it color.

She told me I could have whatever I worked for. That means she was an American.

But she’d say it was because she believed In God. I am ashamed of America

And confounded by God. I thank God for my citizenship in spite

Of the timer set on my life to write.

These words: I love my mother. I love black women.

Who plant flowers as sheepish as their sons. By the time the blooms

Unfurl themselves for a few hours of light, the women who tend them

Are already at work. Blue. I’ll never know who started the lie that we are

lazy,

But I’d love to wake that bastard up

At foreday in the morning, toss him in a truck, and drive him under God

Past every buy stop in America to see all those black folk

Waiting to go work for whatever they want. A house? A boy

To keep the lawn cut? Some color in the yard? My God, we leave things

green.

The second poem it the work of Billy Collins, our poet laureate from 2001-2003

DECEMBER 1ST

Today is my mother’s birthday, but she’s not here to celebrate

by opening a flowery card or looking calmly out the window.

If my mother were alive, she’d be 114 years old,

and I am guessing neither of us would be enjoying her birthday very much.

Mother, I would love to see you again to take you shopping or to sit

in your sunny apartment with a pot of tea, but it wouldn’t be the same at 114.

And I’m no prize either, almost 20 years older than the last time

you saw me sitting by your deathbed. Some days, I look worse than yesterday’s oatmeal.

Happy Birthday, anyway. Happy Birthday to you. Here I am in a wallpapered room

raising a glass of birthday whiskey and picturing your face, the brooch on your collar.

It must have been frigid that morning in the house just before dawn

on your first December 1st at the family farm a hundred miles north of Toronto.

I imagine they had your wrapped up tight, and there was your tiny pink face

sticking out of the bunting, and all those McIsaacs getting used to saying your name.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy our gift of FREE SPEECH.

Photo Credit: Gold Country Girls Blogger

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6 thoughts on “Our Most Precious Gift…Free Speech

  1. More and more the gift of free speech has become cherished, as sure as it has been abused. But we stand tall for our rights and walk on the path we are on, not being distracted or derailed by anyone who attempts to try and take this right away…NEVER.

    • I honor my free speech and live to protect it. The recent survey that indicates that people would allow 45 to restrict the media is frightening.

  2. That Foreday in the Morning hit close to my teenaged years. I am a white woman who grew up in a NYC housing project where, by the time I was a teenager, I was in a minority. There were a lot of hard working people of color who were my neighbors. My next door neighbor was a Vietnam Vet (this during the Vietnam War) and a taxi driver. After I married and left home, he may well have saved my father’s life. We must continue to cherish both free speech and all the hard working people in our country. Both are endangered.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I’m glad the poem spoke to you–it certainly has a major point to make. Each person has a purpose in life and when we open our hearts to the GOOD in people, it makes us better people.

  4. Well said and written. We must never, never give up our right to free speech, and being free to write about all the GOOD that is out there. The negativity that our current administration spoons out is harmful; writing posts like the one you did here is important!

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