Freedom Of Speech: It Doesn't Have To Be Nasty

The health care debate and its aftermath.

The recently-approved comprehensive health care bill may be the most divisive issue in America today...even more than the two wars the nation is still fighting, which was the "big issue" just a couple of years ago.

When the groups on opposite sides of the issue held demonstrations...literally on opposite sides of the Marietta in mid-March, it was a news reporter's dream come true; a chance to have both sides in one story.  And when I put together our story for the news that evening, I tried to make sure both groups had their fair share of air time, in terms of the amount of time each side's representative was given, and even in the representation of both groups in pictures.

Naturally, one of the two groups claimed we were "biased"...presumably, because we put the other side on the air as much as theirs.

That display, at least, while spirited, was without incident.

Since the vote was taken by Congress Sunday night, however, some (and I emphasize SOME) of the people opposed to the reform package in the form in which it was voted on, have become more violent.  There have been news accounts of some Congressional members offices being vandalized, and other members being verbally attacked, particularly with racial slurs.

Their backers may claim this to be "freedom of speech".  Maybe, but it doesn't have to happen in this manner.

I'm all in favor of "freedom of speech"...after all, that's what freedom of the press is based on.

But it doesn't have to be nasty...or, more to the point, personal.  And, as far as the Democrats are concerned, I don't buy their blaming the violence and attacks on the Republicans or the "conservative media".  People are responsible for their own actions, regardless of what Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck may tell them.

People angry about what's happened say it will affect their vote in the upcoming elections. Regardless of whether you agree with them or not, that's the more peaceful way to handle it.  That's what this country is about, too, in my opinion:  the will of the voting public and the peaceful transfer of power.

Regardless of how you feel about the "two wars", that's what those men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are there for as well. 


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