Politically Correct vs Constitutional Right to Free Speech

Politically Correct vs Constitutional Right to Free Speech

It will be a rare occurrence when I write about anything political or inflammatory. I believe politics are a personal choice and should be kept that way. However, I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with people who claim that being politically correct is taking away their rights.

First, let’s review some definitions. The act of being politically correct is the avoidance of discriminatory language directed toward a person or group because of their sex, beliefs and/or race. Please see the Merriam-Webster definition here. Is not being sexist or racist that harmful to you?

Now, let’s look at the right to freedom of speech, or “The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction.” You can read the entire definition from The Free Dictionary here. Yes, this means you can say whatever you want, whether it is sexist or racist. But the real question is, should you?

Dictionary.com defines manners as “ways of behaving with reference to polite standards; social comportment.”

Finally, I believe in the right to free speech, which also means that there will be people who have either forgotten their manners or perhaps were never taught manners. As long as they are not infringing on the rights of others, they have the right to say whatever they want.  And, unfortunately, they may offend others with their freedom of expression. But call it what it is: the freedom to be rude and hurtful. 

Do I think that some people have taken the politically correct movement too far? Probably. One such case just came to light with the University of Oklahoma students singing the racial song. Should they have been expelled? I don’t think so. The were within their constitutionally granted rights to sing the song. But a better reaction might have been to order community service so that they could get to know the people they were maligning. Perhaps they might think twice before doing that again if they personally knew and grew to respect others different from themselves.

Jonathan Swift said, “Good manners is the art of making people comfortable. Whoever makes the fewest people uncomfortable has the best manners.” Those who regularly run off at the mouth on any subject begin to wear on other people’s nerves. Can you please just give it a rest for a little while? We need a break.

Emily Post - Manners

But, the Golden Rule said it the best, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Of course, you can go ahead and spew whatever it is that makes you happy. Just know that others around you can see how rude and insensitive you are being. I doubt you care. That’s your prerogative. But please get it right. State that you want to be rude and inconsiderate.

Now let’s move on to the constitutional right to free speech. Do you really think that is going away? Which party would actually support an amendment to the Constitution to remove that? It would be political suicide. Seriously folks, think about it. The ACLU is a rabid  watchdog actively pursuing the appropriate cases.

I don’t want to go here, but I have to, unfortunately. It seems that many of the people intimating that freedom of speech is being eroded are anti-President Obama. I get that you don’t like him. He hasn’t turned out to be a stellar president. But, if you had five hundred people working to directly negate anything you did would you be effective in your job? I doubt it.

You are welcome to hate President Obama all you want. But please keep the hate away from me. No, I don’t love him as a president, either. If he’d had the people skills he needed for the position, he might have been an effective leader. Personally, I can’t wait for him to be out of office so that all of you can find a new target. At least you’ll have new material for your incessant diarrhea of the mouth and keyboard.

Emily Post picture courtesy of Microsoft Clip Art.

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