The Cautions of Censorship

I’m a writer, which means I’m very much pro the concept of “freedom of the press”. I’m aware that this freedom only goes so far. For instance, generally speaking private organizations can do whatever the hell they want and there’s nothing you can do about it from a freedom of speech point of view. This freedom really only applies on a governmental level. The government isn’t shouldn’t be policing citizens on their opinions. The idea that governmental officials can get the false narrative of “fake news” out there is appalling to me. This should be more appropriately titled “opinion news” or “biased news”, and both sides are guilty of only showing the cards that best fits the narrative that they want to put out there.

The notion of censorship bothers me. I write because I want to share my thoughts and opinions. I’m always careful to let people know that what I’m saying is opinions, not necessarily fact. I’m a blogger; I’m here to write opinions based on the facts as I see them. When faced with a real possibility of a slide away from my freedom to write as I wish, I do get scared. I see this shift happening, and it really scares me. When the press is deemed “the enemy of the state”, bloggers and writers are probably not that far behind so long as they don’t “fall in line” as they should. I wasn’t cut out for following blindly; my parents made me that way.

Social media is getting more and more… loose… with their ban hammers. I don’t like the thought that you’re one wrong meme away from Facebook jail. Do I find some things on social media offensive? Sometimes things cross a line that I don’t feel comfortable with. Do I report it or even do more than just scrolling on past it? No. Because whether or not I find it offensive or agree with it, they still have the right to post it. As long as they aren’t specifically calling for mass murders on people or specific groups of people, I don’t see a problem with it. If people want to post racist, homophobic things, then that just lets me see the people I don’t want to associate with. It isn’t anyone’s job to police them. If people want to post awful things on social media, let the real world deal with it.

For instance, a person posts a racist thing on social media and then gets fired. If you were dumb enough to post the thing to begin with, you deserve the real life consequences of your actions. I think the moment you start censoring social media this way, you make it harder for us to let social Darwinism sort itself out. People are going to be racist homophobes; banning their content on social media just emboldens them. It makes them a martyr of their hateful causes. I want to see who people really are, which is the benefit of the cesspool we know as social media.

Let’s ease up on talking about what offends us and work towards teaching the next generations to be better than us. That’s the only real way that we are going to change the world. Not by being anonymous keyboard warriors that hide behind a false sense of security in our blanket forts.

The Power of Words

Today’s post was originally going to be a statement on parenting children with “difficulties”. As a result of recent events, I’ve decided to postpone that post for a treat on Thursday. Maybe this means I can get back to this more often? No guarantees, but I’m really trying to be more regular with this. Back to the point. I’ve decided to finally talk about something that I will probably get hate responses for. Honestly, I don’t care. I’ve made it along just fine not really caring what people think and at 34, I don’t really see this changing anytime soon. I’m too old to change.

As a writer, I understand the power of words. I make a living off of this power. I try to use this power for good. In my books, I write about some issues that may be tougher to deal with but there’s something that you can relate to in them. It gives comfort to others reading something that resonates with them. For instance “A Special Place for Noah”, has a mother breaking down over her child’s issues. Even if you don’t have a child with developmental delays or other issues, every mom has been in that moment where they just locked themselves in a room and cried alone. Just saying this now, you may have nodded in agreement that you have been there. You just connected with those words. Those words had power.

That’s the thing with bullying, isn’t it? People use those words, that power, to hurt others. They use those words to control or harm. And those words do sting. Sometimes those words sting for decades later. I can remember every word a bully said to me back when I was younger. It’s the reality that words are more painful than a lot of physical harm that someone could do to you. Back then, I’d rather someone punch me in the face than use their hurtful words against me. I had no voice then. But I did have one powerful left hook and strong kicks.

I take freedom of speech very seriously. I understand there is a line that you don’t cross. I understand toeing that line of offensive and not. I understand that racial epithets are never okay. Most decent human beings do. I understand that other words take on different meanings to other people and they may find it offensive even if I find it ridiculous that it offends them. It’s not my place to judge. I spend too much time judging as it is, I don’t need more to add to the list.

I understand that there is a big difference between using the word “ape” against an African-American person and the “C” against any woman, though both carry an offensive nature to them. I don’t care to get into debates about which word is more offensive and whether or not celebrities on either side of the aisle get unfair treatment over words. Both sides push their own agenda. For instance, Roseanne was just practicing freedom of speech and it wasn’t racist at all so ABC was just pushing a liberal agenda firing her just like they did with “Last Man Standing”. It’s just another way the liberal media is taking down conservatives. No. Facts matter, people. Don’t just listen to mouthpieces pushing whatever agenda they are paid to push.

However, you cannot say that she was expressing freedom of speech using a term synonymous with racism while demanding that Robert De Niro should be boycotted for saying “F- Trump”. You can’t place freedom of speech wherever you want to make it fit your agenda. If racism gets a “freedom of speech” pass, so does saying “F- (insert a president’s name here)”. I don’t remember seeing those people voicing such disdain when people kept saying “F- Obama”. If saying “F- Obama” is perfectly fine, so is saying “F- Trump”. You can’t have it both ways. It’s either wrong for anyone to do or right for everyone. Me? I say that it’s a perfectly acceptable way to express your opinions. Also, I have been called the “C” word many times in my life and it never even bothered me. They’re probably right. I know who I am. And I can be kinda a “C” word.

Words are powerful. We should be teaching our children to use them wisely. In fact, we need to be better about how we use our words. Our kids are watching us. How are you going to use your words today?

Back to Business

I decided to go off the grid for a week or two, just to take a break. November was a difficult month, that seemed never-ending due to the piles of work I had amassed when I took on too much, on top of novel-writing. I decided that for sanity purposes, a break from writing was in order. What did I do during that time? I got everything ready for the holidays. My husband was on vacation during the holiday week, and we did what any normal couple would during this time: we finished up Christmas shopping and then went into watching movies and started a “Breaking Bad” binge, which is nearly complete. It was very calming and I am glad to get back into this as a newly refreshed me. Which is great because I feel like we’re getting into the season of “illnesses the keep passing through the house”. Welcome to parenthood, folks. So let’s play catch up!

Neil deGrasse Tyson stirred up the masses apparently with an honest (and equally entertaining) tweet. People were demanding his head for the comments he made. As someone who agreed entirely (and has stated more than once that people who insist on putting the “Christ” back into Christmas are blissfully ignorant to where the traditions for their cherished holiday comes from), I don’t think he should apologize. Here’s to freedom of speech? How come a Christian can compare abortion to concentration camps and Nazi Germany, but a person who does not share Christian views gets attacked for saying that Christmas isn’t a Christian holiday and to acknowledge an incredible scientist? I’m willing to bet that those people who were calling for an apology are the same ones saying that are freedom of speech is being attacked. If you’re going to be a blatant hypocrite, at least try and hide it better. We especially should not be faulted if what we say is based by actual fact. It’s the people that make up facts that are the enemies, not the ones who state the real ones.

The president seemed to discuss recently about how America is less racially divided now than it was before he entered into the office. He points out it only seems this way because of social media and people recording incidences on their cell phones. I agree with half of that. We’re only more aware of this because of social media. Social media, as great as it can be when used properly like sharing memes and playing Farm Heroes Saga, is in actuality the devil. I play with the devil because that’s how people in my “business” can receive publicity and a place to share their work with the world. It actually seems to perpetuate things that would be best to let die out. If the Michael Brown thing had occurred in an earlier time, people would do one protest over how outraged they are by racism and everything would be done. Instead, people make it to be a cause that they need to stand behind until no one seems to care anymore. Just like my prediction about the ALS bucket challenge, no one will even remember his name in another month. Because we are all about “outrages/causes” for the moment, and not actually concerned with things that aren’t flashing on our Twitter or Facebook at the present time. The race situation is not better than it was and by politicians and news media making it a “black vs. white” issue, it will not get any better. This also goes for those who argue “if it were a white person, no one would care”. Those statements do not make you any better than the others who feign outrage. That just puts you on the other side of the race war. We should just acknowledge that we do not know what another person has to go through on a daily basis, and not judge them for it. I don’t know what it’s like to be an impoverished minority, what would make me an authority on that topic? I have no right to go on news shows to say “the problem is…” The problem isn’t that they don’t have both parents: I was a single mother and my son is an A student that participates in band and baseball and does well at both. I have friends that are single parents, and their kids are fine. It’s an excuse, and the media lets them have that excuse by blaming their circumstances for the way they end up. Plenty of children from poverty rise to do great things. We should be asking why some succeed and others don’t instead of blanketing everybody.

Last piece of business is my new novel. I anticipate being able to have it completely edited by the end of next month. I look forward to beginning the promotion process to get the ball rolling. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I will see you on Wednesday.

The Church of The Fallen Soldier

I appreciate soldiers for everything they do for us as Americans. They fight wars, risk their lives for us to have the freedom to speak as we will. As a writer, and a very opinionated one at that, I love that I have the right to say whatever I want, when I want to. Essentially, they fight so I have the right to be a mouthyand I love that right. Thank you soldiers and the constitution for allowing me to live like a jerk.

I can’t help but to think of this when I read that the Westboro Church group went to a wake for a hometown soldier dying in a car crash. I’m glad they were able to celebrate their right of speech to protest a soldier’s wake. We live in a country where their voices are allowed to be heard, no matter how crazy we might think they are. Wait, I think I may have passed the right of freedom of speech here and crossed into slander. I’ll have my legal team look into this. In my humble opinion though, if they have the right to protest because they don’t like gay people and think they are the cause of everything wrong in the world, I have the right to protest how incredibly radical and nutty they are. Totally my opinion though, slander is serious business.

This makes me think of the recent uproar over the American’s burning the Koran. Our media downplays it as “oopsie, look what I did”, when if they had burned a stack of our bibles, we’d bomb the crap out of them. Why does one group of people have more right than another? Why can the Westboro Baptist Church have the right to insult people based on things they morally oppose, but I could hypothetically get in trouble for slander for pointing out that they are a little too radical to exist? In fact why do we pass off all Muslims as radicals, when right here in our own country, we have the Westboro Baptist Church? Are all Christians now radical terrorists? Again, just my humble opinion. This is all my opinion and nothing to do with any facts other than they did mention our hometown soldier as someone to protest.

I don’t have a problem if someone doesn’t agree with my point of view. If everyone agreed, the world would be a very boring place. I care that people frolic around with their ideals but no one else can argue with them. I don’t care that Rick Santorum doesn’t believe in birth control; I care that he thinks because he doesn’t, they shouldn’t exist. I lied; I do care that a religious person hates people based on sexual orientation, race or religion. I care because I remember my good ol’ days in Catechism classes and I remember they told me God didn’t make mistakes and he loved all his children, and these people must’ve skipped those years in their religious education. If there was a God out there, I’m pretty sure he’d care more that you were a good person than who you slept with at night.