Sunday, June 14, 2015

Wrong Words

Finding the right words to use to make a point or create a story is often a challenge.  A student trying to argue a position in an essay, a writer giving color to a story or just someone writing a blog; words are the tools of communication.  But now, as a society, we are faced with a vocabulary that has become limited in the words and phrases we may use to describe certain people, places and situations.  What is more, we are not updated on this ever shortening list until we make an “offense” that can be followed by punishment and a required apology for our mistake.  Maybe the government should consider adding a program on offensive language.  They could send out a weekly newsletter informing the country of the words that have been deemed no longer allowed for use.

Controlling vocabulary not only bleaches the color of stories, conversation and humor, but it stifles productive discussion.  These discussions are not limited to politics, but it is worth mentioning the difficulty in addressing an issue that you may not be allowed to call by name. More importantly, in the context of political speech, freedom to speak, no matter how offensive, is the most essential element for liberty.

I entered no contract, did not sign my name on a dotted line, to turn-over my ability to say what I want, when I want.  To relinquish my constitutionally protected right of speech.  So how is it that I am now part of some “social contract” to not offend anyone using the words that I may or may not be aware have become politically taboo?

Further, I do not wish to partake in the societal or governmental control of the words I choose.  It is one thing to be considerate of others feelings and situations when speaking, it is another thing entirely to threaten reprisal for using the “wrong” words that lead to some perceived offense.

I do not seek to offend anyone through reasoned thought and debate, but if I do, it is only because the listener hears it as an offense and threat to his views or goals.  And for this, I am not sorry.

Let the open and unrestricted flow of words for art, science and politics be expressed freely!

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