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Honest Abe, Free Speech, Hot Topics

Abraham Lincoln was frustrated by political correctness.  He encouraged free speech.  He did not duck an unpopular, divisive issue.

Slavery, thank goodness, is no longer a political issue in America because it was ended in the Civil War.  However, before the Civil War, it was a hot topic.  The quote below is something  Abraham Lincoln said in a campaign speech that he gave in 1860.   He chided the politically correct of his day who avoided talking about ending slavery because it made some listeners, well, uncomfortable.

Let us apply a few tests.  You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it.  Is there anything else that you think wrong, that you are not willing to deal with as a wrong?  Why are you so careful, so tender of this one wrong and no other?  You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no place where you will allow [slavery] to be even called wrong!  We must not call it wrong in the Free States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the Slave States because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion; we must not bring it into the Tract Society or the other societies, because those are such unsuitable places, and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong!

Substitute for slavery whatever hot topic you choose.  What do you think is wrong (or right)? Abortion?  Gay marriage?  Capital punishment?  Gun control?  Obamacare?  Illegal immigration?  Legal marijuana?  Prayer in the schools?  Christmas decorations in public places?  Military involvement in the Mideast?  Budget cuts?  Budget increases?  Fracking?  Twerking?  You may, under your First Amendment rights as an American, say that you believe something is wrong.  Others may disagree with you.  And vice versa.  We will call that free speech.  It is not just for liberals nor just for conservatives nor just for “the politically correct.”

By the way, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty can participate in the public forum as well.

Everyone should be allowed to speak their piece — with the possible exception of Billy Ray Cyrus.  That is where I draw the line!

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7 thoughts on “Honest Abe, Free Speech, Hot Topics

  1. Good thoughts.

    I read an interesting comment once from a woman complaining about the derogatory remarks made in rap music about women. She noted that police officers got the same bad rap, then said, “All we ask is the same respect given to certain other minorities.”

    She went on to say that you never hear, for example, anti-Semitic epithets in songs. The musicians wouldn’t dare. And she was quite right; if women could get that amount of respect, we’d be doing well.

    As your article points out, there are always folks who set themselves up as gatekeepers of the politically correct. The news media, the entertainment industry, all have their standards no one can violate. “This is okay; that’s not okay — because we say so.” Standards are determined by the dollars behind them.

    It’s not so much a question of free speech as simple respect. IMO, no one should be allowed to publicly, viciously, bash anyone. Alas, I haven’t been invited to sit on the committee. Obviously you haven’t, either. 🙂

  2. While Abe supported free speech as you say, “free speech” has taken on a vast new interpretation as “exercised” by the media. They “free speech” to support their own opinions or whom they support, and not fact. Quite extreme interpretation of free speech, I say.

    By the way, Abe was Republican. 😉

      • About being Republican or about (ahem) CNN? I guess to be PC, Fox too? 🙂

      • I know Abe was Republican. He did not watch CNN or Fox, as far as history records his viewing habits. My position on the Rural Land Use Advisory Board is non-partisan, but I like to think I have bi-partisan, even multi-partisan support. When I get my reality TV show, I am going to explore whether I might be a transgendered lesbian because I am attracted to women. And, although I do not personally cross-dress, I do not denigrate those who do. I’m O.K. You’re O.K.

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