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!