From 21st Century Citizen:
“With America at war in Iraq and Afghanistan — should people still be allowed to speak out freely? And at what point does criticism of the Government or of the President cross the line? Is there — or should there be — any line that can be crossed to make Freedom of Speech no longer a guaranteed right?”
I read this post on 21st Century Citizen, a site dedicated to exploring the values of the new 21st Century Citizen. The site is one of my favorites and commonly writes about sustainability and the actions necessary to preserve our planet. In this instance they are raising the question of free speech and the weight citizens place on it. The impedius for this is their reporting of the United States Bridge Federation attempting to punish one of their own teams for speaking out against President Bush after winning an International Bridge Tournament. The team had taken abuse from some of the foreign teams for the actions of the U.S. Government. So, the team acting like more than half of the country feels, held up a makeshif sign at the awards ceremony saying ‘We didn’t vote for Bush’. The USBF, acting swiftly, moved that they be cut off from all competitions - threatening the team’s ability to make a living – for speaking out against the country it represents in International bridge tournaments. (Read that last line again.)
So, back to that scary paragraph at the beginning – inspired by the censorship of a bridge team. I commend the site for raising the question. It’s not often that you read about the denial of free speech in such pure terms. The scarey part is how it’s phrased is so simple and thought provoking – is there a point where criticism crosses the line? The answer to that? God no. That’s the foundation of free speech – there is no line. No boundaries for speaking your mind. When we start punishing our citizens – and as representatives of our country in an international competition there is no greater portrayal of a citizen – we slide to a level of impending communism seen in countries that we have liberated. Is anyone else terrified of this? If not, you should be. Today it’s the bridge club – what will it be tomorrow?