Today is the 4th of July. This is the day that the United States of America celebrates its independence from Great Britain.
We most often associate the 4th of July with picnics, fireworks and parades, which are great fun, but sometimes overshadow the meaning of the holiday.
The most appropriate definition of freedom for today is, “the absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.” That’s because we won our freedom from Great Britain.
But there is another definition of freedom that states, “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” However, that freedom does stop when it infringes on someone else’s freedoms.
In my opinion, one of our most treasured freedoms is the freedom of speech. It is such a powerful right and I’m dismayed that we’re seeing it violated.
From my perspective, I see a group of people who feel that others have no right to their opinions. Anyone that voices opposition to what they believe in are labeled “racist”, “biased” or “prejudiced”. Freedom of speech is a freedom for ALL Americans, not just some Americans.
While I may not agree with your opinion, I do agree that you have a right to your opinion. And, I believe our country should fight to maintain that freedom for both you and I.
The very best solutions will always come from debate where differences of opinion are respectfully shared. No one person knows it all. No one person has the answer to every issue. Our country is a melting pot of different faiths, ethnicities, genders and traditions – that’s what makes us great! I believe that every citizen has a right to speak openly and that every citizen also has the responsibility to listen and consider other viewpoints.
I know it may not be popular to discuss religion in today’s intolerant atmosphere, but God stated that the greatest commandment was to love. This doesn’t just mean to love those who look like you and believe what you believe. It also means you are to extend love to others no matter their ethnicity, religion, shortcomings, gender, sexual activities or crimes. God belongs to everyone who accepts Him! That doesn’t mean you support bad behavior, condone illegal activities, or share someone else’s beliefs. It just means you need to love and respect them as a person – period.
Our country is great because of our differences. So, the next time you want to shut down the conversation because it doesn’t reflect your beliefs, instead just listen, try to understand and then respectfully share your opinions. Remember, many people have died to make it possible for you to speak freely. Just make sure to allow others to do the same.
Happy 4th of July!