Freedom of Expression

As a writer, I have always embraced the right to express myself freely, without censorship. That’s one of the best things about being an American and living in this country: each of us has so many freedoms.

When I write–regardless of whether my creation is a textbook, workshop handout, short story, novel, or blog post–neither you nor anyone else is forced to read it. You can skim it, read it from beginning to end, or skip it entirely because you have the same rights I do. Although I consider your response when I write, I don’t tailor my words to it.

When speaking, I do try to consider how other people will respond.  I’m not nearly good enough at thinking before I speak,  but I try. I know I have the right to say whatever I want, whenever I want, to whomever I choose.  I also understand that saying something hurtful or nasty actually impedes the goal of communication.

We all want people to agree with us,  like us, and understand how we think and feel. Finding the right words, proper tone, and best method of delivery is the most effective way to accomplish that goal.

I believe today’s society would be more agreeable, and less angry and critical, if we thought before we spoke. I wonder what would happen if, for just one day:

Each of us wrote down what we planned to say before we spoke the words…

Each of us considered the impact of our opinions before they left our lips…

We restructured  verbal assaults, replacing them with constructive comments…

The vituperation and anger I see in the world today is scary. I believe it is propelling us backward rather than forward.

Why have we forgotten that while we all have the right to express ourselves freely, our rights should not infringe on the rights of others? No wonder so many of us choose the solitary pursuits of reading and writing.

What are your thoughts about the subject of freedom of expression?

Published by

Linda McHenry

Linda McHenry is a novelist and freelance writer.