By: Sathiyan Sivakumaran
In a time when the Internet has controversy going viral within hours, the last week has been overflowing with issues from across the nation. The United States is relatively open about conversation, allowing people to speak their minds on all of the problems and events of the current age. We partake in these discussions to receive opinions coming from any side of an argument. However, with the recent events at Missouri and Yale regarding free speech, and the polarizing reactions to Starbucks’ holiday cups, questions have arisen regarding what free speech really entails. How do we balance free speech and courtesy?
When it comes down to it, free speech begins to get messy when the words someone is saying or writing offends other people. However, finding something offensive is very subjective and can be an issue with an overwhelming number of statements. Most of us operate on something like a code of honor. If there is something we think, but we feel might harm another person, we choose to keep these thoughts to ourselves. One idea that could be projected to help improve our discussions, arguments, and conversations, is that whatever we have to say should be projected in a manner that represents our beliefs without dismissing the others’ opinion. By doing this, we create a mindful discussion that won’t carry the offense that can occur with conversations on sensitive subjects. This is why every group is allowed to assemble, another one of our most utilized freedoms, regardless of the agenda as long as the agenda is not harming others.
Sadly, a person stating his or her opinion on a matter that goes against others’ opinions can still be targeted very unjustly. We have to remain respectful of others’ opinions whether we support them or not. The great part about America is that we are allowed to engage in this conversation, and every side of every story can be heard. We have the choice to believe what we want, whether it’s a conspiracy theory or that the government truly has our best interests in mind, both of which I find amusing. However, that’s my opinion, and this great country should never censor our opinions.