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Comments

Leslee

Thanks for sharing this, and all your positive posts. It's so hard to take in all the nastiness - and hard to avoid it. My elderly father, who is not a hateful person, forwards me these hateful emails he gets and I mostly delete them, or occasionally find a truth-meter type of site (eg, Snopes) to correct them, but it gets to me what's being thrown out there for the gullible to believe. Comments on otherwise interesting articles online are often so mean. (sigh) Anyway, I'm glad you found this comment with the quotes from RFK - they're lovely and inspiring and above the fray - which we need to hear so much to counter the ugliness.

Dawn

I fear self-righteous mandarins who would deny red-blooded Americans their right to free speech under the questionable and kaleidoscopic rubric of "HATE"...punishable by WHAT???...because they, or their cultural cliques, find some utterance offensive...or simply disagree.

There are satisfactory defamation laws on the books.

The Sherrod story is more complicated and nuanced than would appear at first blush to the uncritical, Kumbaya eye. Only a free press or brash bloggers could thrash that out.

Likewise, Americans are within their rights to criticize Obama because they disagree with his policies, or question his birthplace, or don't dig his style.

It is RACIST to constantly attribute criticism of POTUS to racism.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 'Nuff said.

Oh, I think the Founding Fathers would surely extend the blessings of free speech to the Internet.

Robert

Hi Dawn - Proprietor and bouncer checking in briefly. Get over it. We are not speaking of critical thinking that evaluates what is working and what is not, or what is objectively true versus what is subjectively "true." There is hate speech. I just took a dose not long ago. To quote the Bard, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows..."

There is racism, in that humanity is hardwired to fear that which is "different." We learn to GET OVER IT. A person does not have the right to be hateful and justify it in the name of "free speech." That's the sophistry of the lower ego justifying its own negativity. "And the silver tongued devil dances in a circle, swearing the truth teller is telling a lie..." Do not justify hate speech with attitude and superficial thinking and arguments.

Dawn

There are those who are assiduously working to abridge what little First Amendment Rights we still have.

"Hate Speech" is a crowbar.

High-minded people are rightly worried.

Joanne

This is so right on! Thank you for sharing!
Joanne

D

Thank you Robert - beautiful food for thought.

Moira

A UK reader checking in here with HUGE thanks to you Robert for posting this, and for your eloquent, perceptive challenge to the contempt/spite/hate culture that flourishes under the fig-leaf of free speech. Or free capitalism, or other rationalisations for greed and hate-of-difference.

I bless you for giving voice to other ways of being and thinking, and challenging with words and wisdom the poison of polluting hate-thought.

BritLitChik

What a thoughtful article, Robert. It reminded me of many things...and without getting 'windy', in particular it made me think of being in Costa Rica (I was there about a year ago). I had (wrongly - my own fears) expected to find it to be something like Mexico - some people working, some not, some crime (watch your wallet!) What I found was a lovely, beautiful slice of paradise. After taking a lengthy trip across the country, through the mountains and into the rain forest, I found EVERYONE working, friendly, and did not feel like I had to "watch my wallet" everywhere I went.

I had the opportunity to have a engaging discourse with, of all people, a lady giving me a manicure. She was beautiful, delightful and knowledgeable about her country and customs and we had a fantastic talk despite having little ability to speak in each other's language.

They have no military - so the money gets spent on education. Everyone goes to school. Everyone is expected to finish. Everyone has the same opportunities. And while every country has its problems (for them the major one seems to be being stuck between Nicaragua and Panama and not far away from the Columbian Cartel), these folks live a fairly peaceful existence in their beautiful country and make the time to embrace their environment and take care of it far more than most countries in that part of the world. They could be living in fear, could be building a military to protect its people from the conflict surrounding them, but they don't.

I like that.

Darwin

I have spent my life teaching the writings of mostly women of color and working with mostly white students on deconstructing white supremacy.i have recently lost my job as a college teacher (part time for 16 years) i was a mostly well liked teacher and the college just wrote me a letter and cut me loose. just like that. and i went with the shift (a lot of my ability to shift had to do with reading robert's writings. i was sort of ready for it) now i am working with old folks in a progressive nursing home as a social worker and as a direct care person. i made the transition to socialwork in the last two years (i was teaching at nite) and into the direct care work in the last three months) the direct care work has really changed my life. just like that. in the one month that i have had my license which has enabled me to actually do direct care legally, i have realized more clearly that i can actually affect my environment positively through my own energy (and all of the hard work that I do on myself and managing my own "stuff") and that is a form of social revolution that is coming about because of the spiritual changes occuring in human culture at this time. i am humbled by the responsibility of taking care of people at the end of their lives and by being there when they transition.
i would have never known one decade ago that i would be doing this work, but my black studies background (academic -graduate degree- and growing up in the south in the fifties and sixties and being someone who is racialized as white both visually and culturally but who has an affinity for black culture and love of black people) actually prepared me to do this work in the nursing home. white supremacy and racism are tied intimately to the modern world economy. They are part of everyone's consciousness. (this is why i think that we should use a black studies model for schooling our kids from kindergarten on...and black studies would include and center of course the discourse of all non white and non western people)hopefully, with the advancements (not the best word, but you know what i mean) in spiritual awareness that are happening in western culture, people will "gentle up". i agree that things are rough as far as the ways that we treat each other. i see it in the daily life that my son has to navigate with his friends. it's not easy trying to raise a compassionate kid when very weird, insidious forms of bullying (including hate speech)are the norm. But through the writings of women of color i have been reminded over and over again that even in the face of extreme unkindness (and the material ramifications that go with it)people can be compassionate, live lives of service and use their lives for the overall good.
.

ull

Manipulation through media is something we are also getting more and more of here in Sweden. But we do have one of the Wikileaksservers safe here in Stockholm..

LB

It’s a sad fact that racism is alive and well in this country, although its wide-ranging scope is rarely discussed in the media or amongst the politically correct. Racism is not unique to white people; minorities are just as likely to participate as anyone else – power has many forms. And contrary to popular belief, white people – particularly those who have been marginalized based on socioeconomic factors, disability or gender – are just as likely to suffer abuse at the hands of opportunistic authority figures. If we can’t discuss the real issues honestly, how can we ever hope to heal that which divides us? I watched an interview with the farmer involved in the Shirley Sherrod fiasco and he spoke very kindly of her efforts to help him.

Until we’re willing to look at the truth and hold everyone accountable to the same standard, the scapegoating, mistrust and misreporting (as well as sensationalizing) will continue, making it difficult to differentiate between legitimate and bogus claims. Instead of automatically defaulting to the expected response and turning it into an ‘us against them’ scenario (Democrat vs. Republican, Liberal vs. Conservative, Black vs. White), what would happen if we put our critical thinking skills to work, kept an open mind, then objectively looked at the facts involved in each unique situation? If we’re all spiritual beings having a human experience, then doesn’t this make the most sense from a spiritual perspective?

Although I remain a strong supporter of alternative news sources such as Link TV, I’ve found they are generally no more reliable when it comes to accurate reporting on matters involving race than the mainstream media is. How sad.

I was fortunate enough to have grown up in a multi-cultural environment; the people I loved and called ‘Auntie’ and ‘Uncle’ came in all colors. I experienced both love and racism and understood from an early age how damaging the effects of operating from a false perspective can be. Children don’t have the luxury of seeing things through a political lens; they just see what’s there. No one – regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status – deserves to be made a sacrificial lamb in order to serve some greater political cause.

Kieran

Hard to comment, but I feel I must....I really don't think that the problem in America [or the UK] is 'hate speech' [although the governments and mass media regularly engage in far more subtle hate speech] ...I think it is a totally craven, dysfunctional, corrupt and outdated system that is the problem.

Naturally, this state of affairs will annoy some people so much for so long that they lose their compassion and wisdom and are prone to being led down some dark avenues. And some people are always looking for such opportunities.
It was ever thus.

However, what is the distance between regularly defining opinions one abhors 'hate speech' and the formation of de facto thought police? Likely not very far, and as blogs now appear to be under attack in general, we should fiercely guard against throwing the baby out with the bathwater. 'Hate speech' is such a newthink definition and the thin end of a very nasty wedge. And... 'fig leaf' of free speech? Yikes! That statement is scarier than anything I could read anywhere online.

The 'man shouting fire in a theater' analogy does not really stand in my opinion.. modern governments would take the opportunity to ban all people from 1. shouting 2. having the right to shout 3. the banning of theaters just in case.

At any rate, the imaginary people in the theater [posited as rather easily led if I may say so] would likely deal with the fire-shouting man on the spot or maybe ignore him having taken a look around and seen for themselves, rather than demanding a law preventing all people everywhere in the future from crying wolf.

Thanks for the article, i always enjoy reading here... and may we build a better and more tolerant and self-responsible future together, and may all the haters just chill out.


" And so it is to the printing press--to the recorder of man's deeds, the keeper of his conscience, the courier of his news--that we look for strength and assistance, confident that with your help man will be what he was born to be: free and independent."

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