As Americans, we have rights. In fact, we have a lot of them, especially compared to people in many other countries.
While we value those rights dearly and would not want to live in any country where they don’t exist… we recognize that they can be a double-edged sword.
For example, some of those rights give us the perfectly legal standing to do and say things that some people find deplorable. And, of course, they give others the freedom to do and say things we find despicable.
Evelyn Beatrice Hall is credited with saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
The English writer used that phrase in a book she authored titled The Friends of Voltaire. But it sounds much like something one of our Founding Fathers would have said, doesn’t it?
We Can’t Use Our Rights to Do Wrong
When someone shouts from the rooftops that they love America or that taxes are too high and or that needless government intrusions on our private lives must end… we might applaud and encourage them. And we certainly believe strongly in their right to say those kinds of things.
Where it gets trickier is when someone spews forth what we view as anti-patriotic rhetoric we find deplorable. Or statements of what we perceive to be hatred. Or when an NFL player sits down during the National Anthem… and eats a banana to demonstrate his contempt for the country that provides him with his freedoms.
I don’t know about you, but the first reaction that pops into my head is to tell those people to find another country in which to live. And there are times when I’ve said exactly that.
But is that the right response? Do we really want laws that keep people from doing and saying things, just because we don’t agree with them?
America – Love It Or… Criticize It
The bottom line is, you have to take the good with the bad in America. As well as in every other freedom-loving nation. If you wish to exercise your liberty, you have to allow others to do the same. And that’s regardless of how you feel about them and their words or actions.
The Great American Experiment has proven to be an emotional roller coaster ride. The ups have been inspiring and exhilarating. The downs have been chilling and challenging. But it’s a ride I don’t ever want to end.
I continue to believe that the United States of America is the greatest country in the history of the world.
And I strongly believe that future historians will see it the same way.
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