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Posted by on Jul 3, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

July 4th Part II: Free Speech

Fireworks4_amkFor many of us the Fourth of July has become a shallow yearly ritual. It’s a chance to sleep in, barbecue burgers and light up mischievous firecrackers that drive the neighbors mad.

I challenge us all to take a minute to go deeper this holiday. I think it’s only fitting we appreciate the gift of free speech that our forefathers risked their lives to give us.

Consider what our life would be like if we couldn’t speak our mind. What if we had to be our own thought police?

I met a woman who had lived in Romania before the revolution in 1989. The uprising ended 42 years of Communist rule.

She told me that she could never speak freely; she had to monitor her thoughts constantly. No one could make copies of anything or own a typewriter, because the Communist state was determined to prevent any free-flowing ideas.

As a writer who marvels in ideas, and who loves to spread a few of my own, I could not fathom the muzzle of Communism.

My chat with this Romanian woman brought to mind my trip to Beijing in 200I, and my stroll through Tiananmen Square. I imagined the unarmed students protesting back in 1989, facing assault rifles and tanks in retaliation for speaking out.

As you celebrate the holiday, why not delve deeper?  Why not appreciate the fact that our country was founded by men who were furious they couldn’t speak their mind.

Why not appreciate what a godsend it is to live in a society that refuses to be muzzled?

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