Friday, August 24, 2012

Celebrating Freedom of Speech on My Road to Serenity


Celebrating Freedom of Speech on My Road to Serenity

One of the most treasured rights of American citizens is freedom of speech, the freedom to express an opinion. My blog is an expression of my thoughts and opinions and should not be accepted necessarily as absolute fact. In my experience I have found there are generally at the very least two sides to every story.

One of my favored champions and observers of American democracy, Alexis de Tocqueville, mused that Americans might be hesitant to speak freely more because of social pressures rather than fear of retribution or retaliation by government - which is a significant concern in less democratic nations. And that is an apt observation. I think that many of us, myself included, have erred on the side of silence and rather than perspicuity in the desire to maintain a semblance of d├ętente. But silence too often allows resentments to grow into boils that must be lanced or molehills that become mountains. We Americans are blessed in that we have the right, afforded by our Constitution, to express opinions that others may find distasteful or unpleasant. Sometimes truth can be unpleasant.

There are those who may disagree with the content of some of my posts. That is their right. I’ve learned, however, through my years in Al Anon, that it is healthy for me to express my opinion and point of view and let go of any reaction by others. For my serenity I need to be true to myself and not pander to others to maintain a sense of harmony. It is what it is.
Another tenet of my program is the full appreciation that I have no control over other people, places and things, only my reaction to them. If I offer an opinion and someone disagrees, that is his or her right and as an American who believes in liberty and the constitution, I will defend their right to disagree. However, it is that individual’s problem, not mine.

And generally if there is an over the top reaction, I’m reminded of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in which Queen Gertrude offers “the lady doth protest too much, methinks” – which is generally interpreted to mean that the more one offers a passionate defense against a taken position, the more likely one actually believes, underneath it all, that it is true.
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