We have a lot to think about

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I am beginning to really question separating business from politics. Not that I want to write about politics because I don’t but for the past several years just about anything I could write about is considered “political” and I have become too silent.

Health care, the environment, education, and racial inequality have all become highly politicized. Some of my peers use the term “politically correct” when discussing fair housing. Housing has become politicized too.

We need to learn how to talk about important issues rather than not talking about them.

As I write today I am thinking about freedom of speech. It is because of that right that I can publish this every day but there are some strings attached. If I use it to organize a rebellion against the government or use it to incite violence I can be shut down by the company that owns the server this site runs on. They have rules.

We do not own any of our content on social media. Facebook is free to users because users are the product. Our content creates engagement and Facebook literally sells our clicks to advertisers.

Freedom of speech has never given us the right to yell fire in a crowded movie theater where there is no fire. Many of us were taught that as children.

We were also taught that our rights end where the rights of others begin. Which is a concept that is particularly important during the pandemic. We don’t have the right to do something that will hurt someone else because they have rights too.

I have exercised my right to free speech by attending protests which are not the same as riots. I do not condone any kind of violence or vandalism. Burning down buildings is not free speech. Instead of blaming one group or another for violence, I think it is important to check the facts and see who is actually arrested.

Freedom of speech does not include the right:

  • To incite actions that would harm others (e.g., “[S]hout[ing] ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”).
    Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919).

Being banned from social media web sites is not considered an infringement on the right to free speech. Each social media site has terms of service and the people who own the sites can control them. People who do not follow the rules can be banned from the sites. Go to your favorite social media site and read the terms of service. They all have rules against hate speech and violence.

If the government were to decide who can or can not use various social media platforms that would be an infringement on the right to free speech.

The president was recently banned from Twitter and Facebook. I think that should have happened long ago. I also think that the mainstream media gave him too much coverage during his campaign rallies. People have been using Social media to help radicalize the Americans who tried to overthrow the government last week.

I hope we all find a way to talk to each other about issues that are important to us all and have discussions and maybe some debates. Disagreements are fine as long as we can respectfully disagree and keep the conversation going.

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